Did you know the sex of a Gator is determined by the temperature of its nest?!

Had a recent encounter with a Gator. Saw the usual, allusive log float, the beauty of the reflected sun off its back and vegetation. It’s at that moment he leapt out of the water and of course with camera in hand, shot the below sequence. Can you hear the splash?! I swear he was smiling at me!

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Alligators breed in the Spring (April to May).  They sound like a HUGE bullfrog, for those of you who know what a bullfrog sounds like.  So if you hear croaking in the bush in Florida don’t think its frog legs you’re after!

Females lay up to 50 eggs in a large, three feet tall and six feet wide nest she constructs of mud, leaves and twigs on dry ground.  They don’t sit on their eggs as they would crush them.  I found it fascinating to learn it’s the nest which determines the sex of the hatchlings! The sun and  decaying vegetation is what keeps the eggs warm.  If the eggs are incubated over 93 degrees Fahrenheit (34 degrees Celsius), the embryo develops as a male; temperatures below 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) result in female!

march 5 265The eggs hatch in 2 months, producing hatchlings about 6 inches long (15 cm). The group of babies, called a pod, are protected by the female for about a year. One trek I took a picture of a large Gator and didn’t see the babies until after I was home uploading. I am so thankful I wasn’t considered a threat (or meal) at that time. The females can be extremely protective and they are the most nurturing of the reptiles.

All pretty darn amazing and to think, if I never took pictures, never took the time to spend out in nature I would have missed out on all of this!  Including the stain your underwear brown splash in the water part!   🙂

Research was the most rewarding; especially about the sex of the gator and this article about the alligator’s penis in the freezer!  Guess I would rather freeze with a camera shot then the clinical way. And yes, Gator’s RISE to the occasion!

Will end with a quote from the book MEDICINE CARDS

ALLIGATOR….Let me drop my judgments
Accepting life with grace,
So that forlorn care and worry
Will vanish from my face,
Let me integrate each moment,
Digesting life with ease,
Counting all my experiences
As equal opportunities

About Brenda

"Brenda adores the birds. She is enchanted with their grace, their beauty. It was the birds and being out among them that gave her the peace she so needed and forged a new passion She uses a camera to capture those incredible moments, to savor them and share them with others. For her the camera was freedom. Brenda spent her life healing others, and dealing with incredible pain and despair. The world of birds and nature and photography was what she turned to in order to see the beautiful side of the world" -Eric Curtis Cummings
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6 Responses to Did you know the sex of a Gator is determined by the temperature of its nest?!

  1. Learned this fascinating tidbit about gators when Hubby and I were in the Everglades last year. Interesting critters.

  2. Paula Martin says:

    Not sure I would like to be so close to an alligator, Brenda!

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