After Labor Day (and tourist season) is over with, we start doing a final clean-up of all of our alligator habitats. We also try to do a final sweep of the roads we have adopted through the NC Adopt-A-Highway program in Brunswick County. Many of the alligators and habitats that we keep a check on are on private property. We continue to be grateful to the owners that give us permission to come and view these alligators.
Quinn is an alligator that I have been watching since May of 2013. When I first saw her, she was a sub-adult and appeared to be around 3-4 feet long. She lives in a beautiful, pristine marsh habitat. I am extremely happy to say that she is a wild alligator and not a “food conditioned” (illegally fed by humans) alligator.
When we checked on her last week we didn’t see her at first. As we stood there with our binoculars, I heard a familiar sound. A sound I love just about more than any other sound in this world! A baby alligator chirping and calling its mom! When we heard the chirp we both froze. Within just a few moments, we saw Quinn speeding towards us through the water. We knew that she had heard her baby calling her. We immediately backed up and gave her some space. We didn’t see any babies and we decided to leave so as not to cause her any stress.
The next afternoon we went back to see Quinn again, hoping to see a hatchling. When we got there we saw Quinn basking in the water at the edge of her habitat. And right beside of her we saw several hatchlings! They were tiny and probably only 2-3 weeks old. We continued to observe her and more hatchlings swam up to Quinn. We counted 9 altogether! They climbed on her back and on her snout. Some of them seemed to be attempting to bite her on the eyelid and scutes.
We were able to take several photos and a video. I have been observing alligators for over 8 years now and there has only been 4 times that I have seen hatchlings. I feel confident that this is Quinn’s first clutch. All 9 of the hatchlings were chirping and it was a glorious sound. Being able to see Quinn with her hatchlings and seeing her as a first time mom is at the top of my list of my wildlife encounters. I didn’t want to leave the habitat, but I also didn’t want to disturb them. We are looking forward to seeing these hatchlings grow up!
We are very thankful that we got to experience this. It makes all the hard work, the sweat, the no-see-um bites and everything else we do worth it! I have swamp water running through my veins and a love for alligators, both big and small.
To see more photos of Quinn & her hatchlings go to
Meet The Gators