Due to unseasonably cold temperatures this spring, it has taken longer for our regular alligators to reappear in their habitats. Every spring we look forward to warmer temps so we can check on the alligators who return to their same habitats year after year. There are certain alligators that we normally see in February, while others we see in March and April. The smaller alligators come out of brumation earlier than the bigger ones.
One of the most common questions we are routinely asked is “What do alligators do in the winter?” Mammals hibernate, while reptiles brumate. When mammals hibernate they fall
into a deep sleep and they do not eat or drink. During brumation alligators do not fall
asleep and they still have periods of activity. Alligators do not eat during brumation, but they do continue to drink water to avoid dehydration. When alligators brumate, their metabolic rate slows down and they become lethargic. They stop eating and they create
dens or mud holes for warmth and shelter. On warmer winter days alligators are sometimes seen basking in the sun. Brumation usually lasts four to five months, starting in November and ending in late February.
By April of each year we’ve usually seen our favorite alligator Beaudreaux (Beau). It is now the first week of May and we still haven’t seen him. It has always been our experience that the smaller alligators come out of brumation first and then as the daytime temps continue to rise, we start seeing some of our larger alligators.
This past week we checked up on our newest alligator Cadence. She is a beautiful juvenile and she has a nice habitat that she is making good use of by switching spots where she basks on the side of the bank. We were thrilled to see Albert and Sobek, two juveniles who are rapidly growing into sub-adults. We hadn’t seen either of them since last fall and it is always good to see our regular gators make it through another winter. We also saw Jax, Michael and Cutie Pie. We’ll be posting new photos at the end of this blog.
We encourage people to contact us and let us know if there is an alligator they’d like to tell us about. We love hearing what others name their alligators! We are so very thankful to the people who continue to allow us to come on to their private property and view their alligators. We try very hard not to post photos that will give away a location, especially if it’s on private property. That is part of the “alliance” we are in, with not only the alligators, but also with the property owners.
This past week we met a very nice lady as we were checking out a new habitat we’d been contacted about. We didn’t see any alligators, but it is a beautiful area and we’re looking forward to keeping an eye on it. Not every person we come into contact with is an alligator lover. And that’s okay. We understand people have concerns about safety and alligators can be scary. I won’t mention the ladies’ name because this habitat is also on private property, but she approached us and told us that she was very concerned about the alligator behind her house. Sadly she told us that the alligator had killed her dog and also attacked her cat (the cat survived). She went on to tell us that her dog hadn’t been on a leash. I can’t imagine the heartbreak of seeing an alligator (or any wild animal) eating my beloved pet. Unfortunately, it does happen. Alligators don’t know the difference between a dog and a deer, or a cat and a raccoon. It’s all food to them and when an alligator eats a pet, as sad as it is, that’s just an alligator being an alligator.
The NC Wildlife doesn’t like to relocate alligators. One of Alligator Alliance’s beliefs is, if we educate, we won’t have to relocate. But with that being said, sometimes there just isn’t a choice. If you live in a neighborhood where there are a lot of children and pets, an alligator may have to be relocated. If you have concerns, please contact the NC Wildlife so that they can come out and talk to you about it.
With the temps getting warmer by the day, alligators will be on the crawl. They’re looking for food, mates and habitats to claim as their own. Remember, ANY body of water has the potential to have an alligator in it. Just because there isn’t one there today, doesn’t mean there won’t be one there tomorrow. If you see an alligator, please keep your distance. Don’t let your children be around them. Don’t feed them. Don’t approach them. Keep your pets on a leash and away from them.
Be a GATOR SPOTTER! If you see an alligator take a picture or video of it and e-mail it to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org! We’ll put it on our website and give you photo credit for it.
Thank you for your continued support of Alligator Alliance. Our website has gotten over 9000 views so far this year! We are 100% self-funded and non-profit. We do what we do because we love alligators. We clean their habitats and we love meeting people and passing out brochures and wristbands. We also do free presentations for people who want to learn more about how to co-exist with alligators. We want to remind everyone how lucky we are to be able to see alligators in their natural habitats and not just in a zoo or an aquarium. They truly are our last living dinosaurs!
We hope everyone has a fun and safe summer!