A mother Alligator will stay around her young for two to three years; the juveniles are on their own to eat but she will ward off predators. They often can be seen piled on each other, probably to control temperature and some sense of protection when they are very young.
They all appeared to be ignoring us but you can see the “king of the hill” opened his eyes between my first and second shots.
You can easily pick out five juveniles above, there were three or four down by momma’s tail, and I’m sure more we couldn’t see in the grass.
Just based on my observations I’d say these are around six months old.
I heard this young Alligator chirping at the edge of a duckweed covered pond. I’ve seen juveniles in this area off and on over the summer and suspect they are now around six months old and about 2 feet (60 cm) long.
From there he headed out into the pond, using his full body and tail to propel forward. I didn’t hear any more chirping and didn’t see any siblings. Or mama.
Then he made a 90 degree turn.
Finally he straightened out and headed for the other side of the pond, leaving a squiggly trail in the thick duckweed behind him.
I saw this little ( 2 or 3 inch / 5-8 cm) Skink land, and am not sure if he jumped or fell. Whichever it was I think the result stunned him. He stayed in this awkward position for 15 or 20 seconds before leaping off into the interior of the plant.
I wasn’t that surprised to spot this juvenile Armadillo as Ted had just seen an adult in the nearby woods. I was surprised that he didn’t run or jump. He didn’t even seem to know or care that I was there. Not that I was making that much noise but wild things tend to know we are there way before we know they are.
I watched him as he industriously rooted around in the soft ground hoping to get a full body view. The pine cone in the next image was of standard size, maybe six or seven inches (15 – 20 cm), giving a sense of his size.
Armadillos have poor eyesight and this little one never lifted his head to have a look around, just kept on digging and rooting for lunch.
I’ve walked past this tree that stands less than ten feet (three meters) from a well walked path at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens a hundred times, maybe more. Every time I notice this opening I think something should live there. An owl nest would have been fun to see.
Imagine my surprise when I looked up yesterday and saw this looking back at me!
I saw the ears of a second kit, but only one looked out while mama kept a close eye out.
A smaller side trail allowed me to get further from the Raccoon’s den but still see the opening through some branches. One kit looked out on his own before ducking down.
I continued on my walk and when I passed back by this spot about an hour later there was no movement. For every bit of nature I chance upon like this I wonder how many I just miss.