American Alligators Part 2 – Close-Ups


(Continuing with Part 2 of an American Alligator three-part series)

Today’s Crocodylians (alligators, gharials and crocodiles) have been around for about 85 million years.  Crocodylians are the last living representatives of the Crocodylomorpha, an even bigger, more diverse group of creatures that goes back to the Triassic age, originating over 205 million years ago.

So that’s where they get their prehistoric look?!!  😉

I had a memorable encounter with this American Alligator who was alongside at the end of a boardwalk I had followed, about a half mile deep in the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve.

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American Alligator


It was a great opportunity to safely capture close-ups of this alligator.


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American Alligator


Now the eye.  See the reflection of the boardwalk I was standing on?  😲


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American Alligator Eye


I processed these next two close-ups in B&W.


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American Alligator in B&W


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American Alligator in B&W


When I finished taking a few photos, I turned away and took a couple steps to view the alligator hole, when this alligator suddenly sprinted alongside me into the hole with a tremendous splash.  The fast force and the noise was so startling, I screamed at the top of my lungs!  Thank goodness no one else was around on the boardwalk to hear me. 😅   I looked for the alligator, and it had disappeared into the deep water.  Gone.

I won’t forget that adrenaline experience!  It took me a few minutes to regain my composure and slow down my heart.  😊

Fact:  Alligators can do a quick running spurt on land at 11 mph.  In the water, they can swim 20 mph!

Next post will be the last of my American Alligator series with Part 3, showing off the American Alligators cute side with the juveniles!

(Part 1 here if you missed it!)



56 thoughts on “American Alligators Part 2 – Close-Ups

  1. Wow, the photos are fantastic, Donna, so much detail! The eye photo is amazing. I do believe the skin reflects the ancient history of these reptiles. 😊 Funny though, how the intelligence hasn’t apparently increased over the millennia.

  2. I could easily do without that sort of experience. I’m just barely getting used to the teeny lizards around here. Not ready for the big leagues at all.

  3. Wow, Donna, I can imagine the shock especially with such dangerous creatures so close. We had a similar scare up far north Queensland when walking around Crocodile territory. Every little movement of a leaf in the wind, bird diving in the water as you pass would make you jump and in the same way the fight or flight response would kick in. They are very sneaky hunters and just lie in wait, just below the surface or hidden on the bank. The good side is that screaming was a healthy emotional response to deal with the high momentary stress of the immediate moment. 🙂

    • My scream was a great release for the moment for sure! I imagine the gator was shocked too, or laughing, lol. There was actually a bench at the wide deck there at the end of the boardwalk, I sat down to compose myself. During my excursions, I’ve heard an alligator attack suddenly in the silence. Then all quiet again. Very eerie!

  4. Those black and white photos really emphasise the texture and, in a strange way, the beauty of their skin/scales. And, he or she was definitely giving you the beady eye and thinking, I’ll show you what I can do! I’m not surprised you let out a scream.

  5. I think in the next series (post) he will be going to jump from my scene, dear Donna! Great shots. Thank you, Love, nia

  6. I’ve heard they’re pretty fast. I’m glad you were a safe distance and just scared to scream. It’s my natural instinct/reaction too to scream and run! I would have been screaming and running down that boardwalk so fast. 😀 That eye image is pretty cool.

    • Alligators are very fast, they can reach a speed of 11 mph on land in a short spurt to attack (20 mph in water). I am usually a runner/screamer too, lol, now if s/he had rammed the pilings to the boardwalk I was on, I would certainly have been a sight to see, running down the boardwalk (cameras in hand of course, can’t lose them lol), people seeing me coming out of the swamp like a mad woman! 😅 😂

    • 😅 😂 I can really laugh at it now. I would have messed my pants if s/he rammed the boardwalk piling. Which reminds me of a movie I saw way back about a huge alligator that terrorizes a lake’s community. Ramming things to make people fall off so he could eat them….egads! Let me know if you start seeing ramming gators, wildlife IS getting crazy this year! 😉

  7. There are no alligators here but sometimes just a leaf falling down will startle me. The B&W photos are very artistic. I also love the photo of the eye. So clear, sharp and great reflection.

  8. I am glad you shared that startling experience because people get used to the idea that alligators, or other large mammals, are lethargic and slow and it is a reminder that they can spring into action very quickly. I love the black and white studies of texture and tone.

    • Thank you, Jane! I think that gator wanted to make me scream, lol. Still, it was a chilling experience and a wakeup to even me to continue to be careful. It was cool to see how I could process the photos to bring out the details nicely. 🙂

  9. I think I heard you in Georgia that day! Great shots you got from the gator, although, he probably thought that you owed him an he wanted a piece of the action.
    Good thing that you are okay! Thanks, Donna. (Don’t try that with Great white sharks!) 🙂

  10. I am glad that it was you taking the pictures rather than me both because you took some great pictures and because I might not have survived the shock at the end.

  11. Really great shots of American Allicator Donna! The eye (again) is great with the path reflection. I also enjoyed the story bound to your photos. It is hard to understand that Alligators have been living in our planets millions of years 🙂

    • Thank you, Minna! It was wildly fascinating to actually spend some time from a safe distance with these prehistoric creatures in their natural habitat…..that was theirs first. 🙂

  12. Pingback: American Alligators Part 3 – Juveniles | Photos by Donna

  13. Great captures Donna (all 3 series). I especially liked your B&W shots. Certain subject matter seems to call for B&W post processing, and those tack sharp close-ups perfectly emphasized the 3D texture of their scales.

  14. Your photos and description match well, talking about their prehistoric existence and showing it in the photos. You did a great job of building up the suspense on your story, too. I have to say, I laughed really hard at your story. Screaming at the top of your lungs, which I am sure you don’t do too often. Those are the kinds of experiences we never ever forget. The force he exhibited, I can only imagine, was shocking. Of course I knew it ended well, or I wouldn’t have laughed so hard. I thoroughly enjoyed this series, Donna. I started with part 3 and then did 1 and now 2, and each post was a true joy. It’s a lot of work to do do something like this series, and I thoroughly appreciated it.

    • Thank you, Jet! I laugh real good now myself, lol. I just know that gator thought to itself, “I’ll wait til she turns away.” 😉 The alligator’s movement was so swift, it confirmed to me their agility in speed. I’m actually glad I experienced this, of course, because I was safe all along.

  15. They sure do look prehistoric! Yikes … I would have jumped too if a quick one got that close! My friend and I went to a preserve near Charleston in 2015 and there was a big pond with a sign that read ‘caution alligators may be present’. I had to laugh because there were about 50 alligators in plain sight. We didn’t get out of the car!

    • 😅 I’ve seen those ‘may be present’ signs over the years and it’s obvious. No I wouldn’t get out of the car either!! Alligators are fascinating in an eerie way.

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