An excerpt from my 2015 Okefenokee nature journal:
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
I remember my children when they were young holding baby alligators during visits to the Everglades. They really are quite beautiful! ❤ Take care, William! ❤
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