American Alligator – (Alligator mississippiensis)
I saw this alligator while I was taking a tour of the Bird Rookery Swamp in Naples. It was resting on the trail as our group walked by and the tour guide stood between us and the alligator with his big walking stick. The tour guide explained to us that this alligator who he knew by name was about 30 years old. He is opening his mouth to release air in his body before he makes his entry into the water. . The American Alligator is Florida’s state reptile and inhabits fresh, brackish and saltwater environments. It can be seen in Florida’s sub-tropical wetlands, swamps, marshes, ponds, lakes and rivers . The Alligator can grow in size from 6 ft to 19 ft. Alligators feed on fish, mammals, birds, turtles, snakes and frogs. Alligators were over hunted in the 1800′s and 1990′s for their skins and soon became an endangered species. It is against the law to feed them. Alligators can also be dangerous to humans and should not be approached.