FLORIDA TRIP - Shark Valley: Part III, Everglades NP – A Spectacular Bike Ride -- Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Before we start Part III, there are 2 more birds that would not post in Part II.  Guess I used up all the blog space for one post??  Anyway, here are #14 and #15...
Bird #14 - Help!!

Bird #15 - Help!!

Now for Part III - the Alligators at Shark Valley.  You would be hard pressed to be this close to this many alligators that were not in a Zoo.  They are all along the tram path, especially in the first part which has a canal on the right side.  Big one, little ones and my favorite...Momma and her babies.  Be sure to click on them to enlarge the pictures.

Here's looking at you...

It's hard growing up in the Everglades...

View from the top of the tower...

Big Daddy...

Momma and New Babies...

Closeup of new babies...

It is hard to think of alligators as caring and nurturing creatures, but seeing the momma gator with her new babies reminded me that I had read that they are very protective.  So I googled Momma Gators and found out some interesting facts:

• Alligator breeding season in Florida begins in April and runs through the end of May. It was surprising to see these babies in January.

• The female alligator builds a nest. This is also called a mound.

• The female alligator lays eggs over a two week period.

• The female alligator lays about 35 to 40 eggs. This is called a "clutch"

• Alligator eggs are creamy white in color. These eggs are about the size of a goose egg.

• Baby alligators emerge from their egg after about 65 days.

• The mother alligator protects the nest.

• The mother alligator will actually assist the hatchlings to break out of their shells. The mother hears the baby grunt form inside the shell. She will then lift the egg in her mouth and roll it around against the roof of her mouth with her tongue. This cracks the egg and the little one is able to escape.

• The mother alligator will often carry the new born to the water.

• Alligator mothers often remain with their young for several months.

• While the eggs are incubating, higher temperatures, of 90 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit result in males while slightly cooler temperatures, 82 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit result in females.

• If a baby issues a distress call, which is a series of grunt sounds, the mother alligator or other adults will respond quickly to the aid of the babies.

Isn't nature just amazing!!


  1. Ahhhh....the babies are soooo cute!...well, kind of :). Great pictures and I look forward to our next visit to Florida...when we will be able to make it further south to the Everglades! In the meantime, I'll see it through your eyes!

  2. Wow, what an interesting lesson on the wonders of nature. Wish we could be there with you sharing the fun. Thanks for the neat pictures!

  3. Great post on the gators. You may actually have seen more in January than we did in the Okefenokee in November. Wonder what the weather is like there in normal breeding season? Not as bugless as your experience is my guess. Lucky you!

    Your trip makes me even more anxious for my turn in the Everglades. Why don't you just hang around until I get there :-)

  4. I would be thrilled to just hang around...BUT...got to sell a house!!

    If we get it sold, we would head back to the Everglades next January...sounds like a great place to get together!!

    Keep making those choices and get yourself back out on the road so we can follow you. Back to work for me on Tuesday, so you have to entertain me now!!

    Say Hi to David for us!!