Turtleback Zoo has recreated Florida’s wooded wetlands for your encounter with an animal that remains unchanged after millions of years. Which ancient reptile can lie camouflaged beneath the water’s surface, has enough strength to catch, drown and devour a 200lb. deer, and yet is so gentle it will carry its’ young tenderly within those same powerful jaws?
The answer is the American Alligator! To play “mom” is truly unique behavior for any reptile, especially one who resembles a dinosaur. Thick leathery scales armor this predator from tip to tail, but that doesn’t prevent this maternal alligator from showing a soft side to her young. For not only does she vigorously protect her nest of eggs, but also her growing offspring for up to a year!
Once hatched, Alligators may start out life at only 8 inches long, but over the years, large adult males called “Bulls” can reach over 18 feet in length. An astonished researcher once witnessed a “Bull” alligator attacking, then tussling with a black bear! Talk about a “bull” fight.