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You Look Good Enough to Eat

Look Out! There's an Alligator Coming Towards You!

Ranger Wayne was snorkeling in the Blue Spring Run one year, in order to do some work under water. One of his colleagues was standing on the bank, and yelled to Ranger Wayne that an alligator was swimming toward him. Ranger Wayne was in deep water at this time, and only his head with the mask and snorkel were above the water.

As the alligator approached Ranger Wayne kept looking at it, but was swimming backward at the same time to get back into shallower water.
Swim with Caution!
The alligator kept approaching and Ranger Wayne kept swimming backward, always keeping an eye on the alligator. But still the alligator kept coming.

(Click image to enlarge for warnings)

To an Alligator, I could look like a duck!

Ranger Wayne finally reached a shallower area where he could touch the bottom with his feet. Ranger Wayne kept moving backwards toward the shore, and with each few steps back, more of his body began to rise up out of the water. He kept stepping backwards, but the alligator kept coming towards him.

Fortunately, with just a few more steps backwards into the shallow waters, and with his body now standing much higher above the water surface, the alligator started to stop his advances. Now that Ranger Wayne was standing up, most of his body was above water and the alligator now had a new perspective. He could now see that Ranger Wayne's head, which previously looked much like a duck, was actually attached to a much bigger and taller body, which would not be such an easy meal after all. The alligator changed its mind, turned around, and swam away.

Alligator Sound "Bite"
Audio Clip
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Photo Credit:
USGS Sienia Project
Audio Credit: Dr Adam Britton

Credit: USGS-Sirenia
Alligator Hissing
Audio Clip
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Photo Credit: Birmingham Zoo
Audio Credit:
Dr Adam Britton

Try This! Journaling Question
Research the daily life of an Alligator. Where is their habitat? What does their diet consist of? How does an Alligator view the world? How are Alligators important to the Food Chain?

Find a Field Guide for Birds of North America (Eastern region). Look through the pages of swimming birds that live on or near the water. List all of the birds you can find that, to an Alligator, might resemble a person's head in a mask and snorkel (i.e. Ranger Wayne). What about a person in a wetsuit? What other prey might that resemble for an Alligator? What might this tell you about an Alligator's vision?

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