Florida has more than 1.5 million alligators, many in the Everglades region. Yet the alligator remains a threatened species because of its similarity to the American salt water crocodile, which are estimated to number about 2,000.
Female alligators grow to 10 feet in length. Male alligators are considerably larger, reaching 13 to 15 feet. Normally an alligator’s snout is broad, though the shape can vary slightly among populations. Its color may, too, from olive, brown, gray or almost black depending on habitat.
Young alligators have bright yellow cross-bands said to give them camouflage. The yellow fades as juveniles mature.
Adult gators, which weigh about 1,000 pounds, eat fish, birds, turtles, snakes, mammals, and amphibians including young alligators. Lifespan in the wild is 35 to 50 years.
If you approach an alligator too closely, it will open its mouth and hiss. Ignore that warning and it might charge you. Not good since in a sprint an alligator can run faster than most humans.
Most ENP alligator photos are taken from above since the boardwalks look down on the animals. Better to take photos at eye level— from a safe distance.