Colorful Baby Alligators

An excerpt from my 2015 Okefenokee nature journal:

Baby American Alligator laying on a cypress log in the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. Middle Fork red canoe trail of the Suwannee River. March 12, 2015. ©www.williamwisephoto.com. Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally at Dreamstime.com.

On our first day in the Okefenokee, the number of huge gators lining the edges of Billy’s Lake was quite mind blowing. As our count climbed higher, we lost track of how many of the big swamp sentinels we saw. In some places, groupings of four to eight large alligators sunned in one spot; many of the same gators in the same exact spots we had seen them on the previous day’s guided boat tour. But after the initial shock of the giant gators was waning, we began to desire to see a colorful juvenile gator, or better yet, a pod of babies surrounding their mother.

Baby gators are something special. Their more distinct patterns, texture and coloration with bright yellow banded tails makes them more beautiful than the older, drab, bluish-black monsters. They have a lizardy – almost gecko-like look – with cute upturned smiles that border on a mischievous grin. And not to mention the chirp! It is hard to imagine this happy little chirp emanating from an animal that will one day emit a thunderous bellow and strike fear into any living creature.

In 1997 I had come upon a mother gator and her babies in the Okefenokee. And only on a couple of occasions, another being in the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, had I heard baby gators chirp unseen from amongst the reeds. Perhaps today Amanda would hear that chirping up close for the first time.


iNaturalist observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/30037286

Published by William Wise

Hi, I’m conservation photographer and nature writer William Wise. Nature journaling and wildlife photography has been a favorite pastime since the ‘90s. I graduated from University of Georgia Warnell Forestry School's wildlife program in 1996. I'm currently an animal shelter manager/photographer and reside in Athens, Georgia, USA with my wife and two teenage daughters. My website www.williamwisephoto.com is a wildlife and birding photo website documenting the beauty, design and wonder of creation. I have a deep love of the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. I became a devoted Christian in 1993 under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation. I am also a guest author at Lee's Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. The theme of my blogging comes from The Message version of Psalms 104 -- "What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, You made earth overflow with your wonderful creations."

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