ALLIGATOR BEHAVIOR page 5e: BABY ALLIGATORS--part 5
This page was born 11/29/2012.  Rickubis designed it.   Last update: 1/08/2017
Images and contents on this page copyright 2004 -2017 Richard M. Dashnau 

  6/22/2008--I was watching the activity on 40-Acre lake. and I noticed an alligator swimming from the center of the lake towards the nest on the island.

The alligator moved steadily towards the bank near the nest, then stopped (see "WHERE IS IT GOING",  "TOWARDS NEST", AND STOP NEAR" below)
The alligator's head is visible at the lower left of the picture (STOP NEAR), by edge of the bank.

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                    WHERE IS IT GOING?                                                SWIMMING TOWARDS NEST                                   STOP NEAR THE NEST                                                   YAHH! IT'S MOM!            
 I thought that this was the female who had made the nest. I glanced down at my camera, checked to be sure it was going to shoot a 5-shot burst of pictures. I intended to catch a sequence of the alligator climbing up to the nest (My video camera was still packed.).  When I looked up, the alligator was on the island...and another alligator was crossing the island going past the nest! Since I was looking down, I missed the beginning of the action, so I don't know if the fleeing alligator was the one I'd seen swimming. The alligator fled across the island (see YAHH!, CHASED, and JUST KEEP above), and then the pursuing alligator turned laid down to rest (see AND DON'T COME BACK below). After a short while, the alligator turned around and laid in front of the nest, where she remained for quite a long time. Later in the day, she began gaping. (see MOM GUARDING, and WARM below).
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               CHASED OVER THE ISLAND                                             JUST KEEP GOING!                                                 AND DON'T COME BACK!                                  MOM GUARDING THE NEST      

   
MOM GETTING WARM

Note that both alligators were out of the water--and one was almost across the island--in the time it took me to look down and my camera, read the display, and look back up again.  I have reviewed all the photos I took at that time, especially the ones of the alligator's head in front of the nest, but I cannot find any sign of more than one alligator in front of the nest.  Yet, the alligator in front had to have left the water right then, since I can see the wet trail in the mud that wasn't there before the alligator crossed.  Even the the movement was rapid, it was not violent. There was no splash marking the alligators leaving the water, and no sudden movements. The alligators simply walked quite quickly to where they were going.  I wonder what the other alligator wanted at the nest, if it wanted anything. Did it want to use the nest? Did it see a nice clear bank to bask on? Was it just caught by surprise the annoyed mother as it was foraging and just left the water as the quickest escape?
This is a good example of how quickly and quietly a protective alligator can move while guarding her nest.
I'm looking forward to watching all our nests this year.

6/15/2008--Here it is, another nesting season arrives at Brazos Bend State Park (and I suppose the rest of Texas as well). Walking around one of the lakes, I could pick out an alligator nest on one of the islands. Today's RICKUBISCAM shows the nest as I saw it in the morning. The alligator nest is a pile of plants and mud, scraped together from nearby. Since the nest is piled from the scrapings, the area around the nest tends to be a bit cleaner--as if something had scraped the ground clean. And of course, the alligator has done that. A little later in the day, I heard that so far two other nests have been found in the park. I might have found another one besides those, but I'll have to check. All three nests are easily visible (if you know what to look for) from our trails. The three images below show the nest on the island. The first two were taken in the morning, the last one (MOM GUARDING) was taken later in the day.
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                        NNEST ISLAND!                                                  THE NEST ON NEST ISLAND                                   MOM GUARDING THE NEST

2/17/2008--The park had endured the swift cold front and included rain and wind Saturday evening. Sunday morning (today) was very nice, although cool. Alligators were moving around, and as the sun rose into the sky, they started getting on land.
I decided to look for the baby alligators that I'd seen last weekend. This time, there were a few lying on top of their mother.  The female and babies were still at least 20 yards away, though, so the pictures aren't as clear as I'd like (see BABIES RIDE 1,2 below). The RICKUBISCAM image is cropped from one of the photographs.  I shot some video and editied a short clip which shows the mother moving around, and the babies moving off her back.  This link is for the short video clip (wmv 7.3 mb).  The last image below (BABIES RIDE 3) is a frame from that video clip.  I believe that the female and babies were staying somewhere under the water near that spot. Through the coldest days, I didn't see any alligators over there, but with all the plant growth, she could have just exposed her nose and I wouldn't have seen it.  Whenever the temperature got a little warmer, the alligator would lie on top of the plant growth.

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                    BABIES RIDE 02/18/08 1                          BABIES RIDE 02/18/08 2                            BABIES RIDE 02/18/08 3

2/10/2008--At around 2:30pm, I was back at 40-Acre Lake, near the first island. This is where an alligator nest was last year, where the female had been with her babies for some weeks after, and where I'd watched an otter swim across on December 30, 2007 (about a month ago). After that otter had crossed, I went out for the next day or so to see if an otter would cross again. It didn't, but while I was waiting, I thought I'd heard an intermittant baby alligator chirps.  The chirps seemed to be coming from Pilant Lake, but I never could find anything. There was a large adult in the area, though.
Today, that alligator (or one of similar size) was lying on top of the plants about 20 yards away. I decided to look near it, and a spotted the baby alligators! I didn't hear any chirping, but there they were. The babies were pretty far away, but I shot a little video and some photos anyway. You can tell from these that the baby gators were really hard to spot (FOUR GATORS and GATORS CIRCLED, below). This link is for the short video clip (wmv 7.5 mb). Look closely, and you'll see some of the babies move, then I panned the camera quickly over the female and back.

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                          FOUR GATORS                                              FOUR GATORS CIRCLED
---abies0210zm1c.jpg    --
               TWO GATORS IN "ZOOM 1"                            TWO GATORS IN "ZOOM 2"

07/01/2007---Spring has changed into summer. BBSP has maintained good water levels in all of the lakes, although it has dropped a bit. I've been busy putting programs together for showing at places outside the park--still strictly for educational purposes. I'm not paid for them. However, alligators have been nesting. Today's RICKUBISCAM shows an alligator near a nest on one of our islands.
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------------------------------------------------------------------------------------MOTHER ALLIGATOR AND NEST

3/05/2006--(update added 01/08/2017) I was on the West loop of Elm Lake trail when I saw a Great Blue Heron on one of the islands. It appeared to be stalking something, so I set up the video camera I had at the time. When the heron caught its
prey, I started filming. I thought it had caught a fish. But when I zoomed in with the video camera, I could see that the Heron had caught a baby alligator! While I was filming, I noticed an adult alligator moving towards the Heron, which flew off
long before the alligator could reach it. In the 10 years since I shot this video clip, I've never had a chance to witness another Great Blue Heron with a baby alligator--although others have. Alligator nests at Brazos Bend State park average about 
33 eggs per nest.  If all those eggs hatch, only one will possibly survive the 3 years after it hatched. Most of the losses are probably due to predation by the many wading birds at the park; like this Great Blue Heron. The two images below are frames from the video clip I shot, and the clip can be seen at this link. 

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                 BLUE HERON WITH BABY ALLIGATOR  1                                            BLUE HERON WITH BABY ALLIGATOR  2


If you'd like to know more about the park follow these links:

Brazos Bend State Park   The main page.

Brazos Bend State Park Volunteer's Page  The volunteer's main page.
 

Here are a few links to more information on alligators. There's a LOT of it out there.

   Crocodilian.com

    Adam Britton's Pages 1

    Adam Britton's Pages 2

    Fish and Wildlife Page (Text)

    Fish and Wildlife Endangered Species

 Here are my "alligator behavior" pages:

SOCIAL INTERACTIONCONFLICT AND CANNIBALISMFEEDINGBABY ALLIGATORSALLIGATOR DENSALLIGATORS ON LANDFOSSIL CROCS
SIGNALS 1CONFLICT 1FEEDING 1BABIES 1DENS 1ON LAND 1FOSSILS 1
SIGNALS 2CONFLICT 2FEEDING 2BABIES 2ON LAND 2
SIGNALS 3CONFLICT 3FEEDING 3BABIES 3ON LAND 3
SIGNALS 4FEEDING 4BABIES 4ON LAND 4
SIGNALS 5FEEDING 5BABIES 5ON LAND 5
SIGNALS 6FEEDING 6BABIES 6ON LAND 6
SIGNALS 7
ON LAND 7
SIGNALS 8

And, this page shows alligators at the park, on land, near various landmarks at the park.

           Go back to my main alligator page, Alligators

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           Go back to the RICKUBISCAM page.
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