Guardian Mother Gator

A guardian mother American Alligator and her pod of babies in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. March 12, 2015. © Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally at

Thursday, 2:20 PM – Trying not to disturb the exhilarating, tense moment, I whispered to my daughter Amanda in a low voice, “Momma gator has to be here somewhere.” Sure enough, in the midst of the dozen or more colorful babies, her eyes peered at us attentively from between the abundant swamp vegetation; her body completely submerged. We daringly pressed in a little closer. Cute little chirps arose from a few of the babies. Mom tolerated our approach for only about thirty seconds before swiftly swimming directly toward us and emitting a forceful release of air.

Sitting in the front of the canoe just a few feet from this upset maternal guardian, I knew what was “safe”, and what was not. This was bordering on “unsafe”, and, in fact, a bit foolish. While most gators predictably retreat or submerge upon approach, a mother gator is quite courageous and assiduous in defending her young against onlookers. So I let wisdom prevail and we backed out the canoe a bit, took a few more photos, and paddled onward.

-Excerpt from my March 2015 Okefenokee Nature Journal

iNaturalist observation:

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 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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