Florida: We Like Alligators
April 3, 2016 13 Comments
In Florida we live with the largest reptile in North America –the American alligator. I was surprised to learn that a published study in 2013 documented their use of tools. It was found that during nesting season some alligators balance sticks on their heads to lure birds looking for nesting material. Mid-April to May is prime mating season. Courtship displays include head slapping, torso vibration, and bellowing (the sound travels for quite some distance). Alligator mothers are devoted to protecting their eggs, and stay with their young for up to a year. Their toothy “smiles” contain about 80 teeth. Worn teeth are replaced with new ones, so an alligator can go through 2,000 teeth in a lifetime! Occasionally an alligator visits our pond, but eventually it moves on to a new gator hole. Alligators have always attracted the interest of tourists, and their images have been used for logos, mascots, and throughout pop culture. Alligators are an important part of our Florida ecosystem, and we enjoy having them around.