Upon hatching, alligators weigh only 2 ounces, are 6-8 inches long, and come fully loaded with a good set of teeth! Babies must find their own food (worms, insects, small fish) from the moment they hatch, and have the fiesty temperament (as this sculpture baby demonstrates) to take on the job! But they are also extremely vulnerable to many predators in the swamp, and momma will remain close for 1-2 years, offering her formidable protection. If you are lucky enough to see a baby alligator in the wild, remember, the young stay very close to their mother. Even if you cannot see her, she is closely watching you, and will react fast if her baby sounds alarmed!
Being cold-blooded creatures, alligators, young and old, cannot create their own body heat. Therefore, they must haul out on logs or shorelines to warm themselves in the sun. In this case, a lily pad it just right spot for basking and quick escapes!
“This is my Pad” – American Alligator Hatchling on Lily Pad, was selected for inclusion in the 2009″ Society of Animal Artists “Small Works, Big Impressions Show” which was held at The Wildlife Experience Museum in Parker (Denver), Colorado.