An assortment of close-up images of Alligators from 2 Florida locations, along the paths at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel, Florida and the St. Augustine Alligator Farm’s Rookery. Featured image taken at Ding Darling NWR with 300mm f/4 Lens, Canon R.
Following is information on Alligators from Ding Darling NWR’s website.
One of only two alligator species in the world, the American Alligator is a large reptile found in freshwater habitats throughout the southeastern United States. Adult male alligators can grow up to 4.6 meters long and weigh over 500 pounds while females are generally smaller and average only 3 meters long with a weight of 200 pounds. Commonly portrayed as green, the skin of an American alligator is actually a dark grey color with pale yellow on the underside, and the juveniles have bright yellow stripes along their backs until they mature and the striped fade. The dark coloration allows this predator to better blend into the swamps, marshes, and wetlands it inhabits and camouflages the animal while it hunts at night. Another adaptation that allows the alligator to better hunt within its watery habitat is a double set of eyelids. One set of eyelids is much like a humans, they close up and down and protect the eye from debris and light. A second set of translucent eyelids, called a nictitating membrane, close front to back and are used to protect the eyes while the alligator is underwater. Like other reptiles, American alligators are cold blooded and need heat from the sun or other sources such as warm water to be active or even to digest their food. Special bone plates called scutes grow between layers of skin along the back of the alligator, giving the animal an armored appearance and acting as a solar plate. The scutes collect heat from the sun when the alligator sunbathes and warms the blood that runs through the vessels of the skin, transferring the heat throughout the body. Despite their appearance as slow, lazy, or unresponsive which sunbathing as alligator is capable of running up to 11 miles per hour on land in short bursts. This species is much better built for water travel, where it is able to utilize its tail as a paddle and rudder to guide the torpedo-shaped body through the water at speeds up to 20 miles per hour.
They still give me the shivers! Must be a primal thing. 😉
No! It think it is more their big teeth and evil grin!
As close up as I’d want to get to these characters😏. Excellent photos, Reed!
Thanks Belinda! It is Good to have long lenses! I was not as close as some might think!
Wonderful, wonderful creatures!!!!! I love birds, but gators are my favorite! I just returned yesterday from my annual Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and saw many; I can’t wait to get editing and posting. I love your close-up shots. A “gator farm” is the way to go to get close-ups of well-fed monsters like that! Great work on those Behemoths! William — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104 The Message
Thanks William! Most were from Ding Darling and were shot with long lenses. I like the gator farm for birds nesting because their nests are protected by the alligators. I usually do not shoot the alligators there because you are looking down on them and is more like a Zoo! I prefer out in the Wild with LONG Lenses!!
Awesome awesome awesome, Reed!! Please tell the one close-up gator he needs to see a dentist for a cleaning. 😉
Thanks Donna! I tried saying that to the Gator and it just made grunting sounds, so I did not want to offend it!
Number two has a very winning personality. Those chompers are a bit frightening. The close up teeth look like they need a visit to the plover shop.
Thanks Steve! Yes, I do not know which is more intimidating, closed or open mouth! Probably closed mouth!!
The teeth jutting out from the closed mouth is intimidating but looking down that gullet…gulp.