The zookeeper was holding a young alligator like a football. She had his tense body tucked under her arm and held his head in her palm. Her other hand rested on his back. He was perfectly still when she began to share alligator facts with a small crowd that gathered around to learn. She related basic alligator facts, like where they live, their size, what they like to eat. Then, she shared a bit about their skin. Not only is it thick and an excellent defense against predators, alligator coloring provides additional protection.
She asked kids what an alligator might look like from the air. It is darker and mottled, like the top of murky water glinting in the sun or leafy swampy woods. He would be very difficult to see from a bird of prey’s point of view. Likewise, a predator low in the water would look up to a pale underbelly and find it indiscernible against the light of the sky. From the top and from the bottom, an alligator is a master of disguise. But what about when meeting one head on? That’s why it has a strong whipping tail and rows of razor sharp teeth set in a spring-like jaw. The zookeeper concluded her talk and put the alligator back into a long dark green Coleman cooler, creating a perfect scenario where through a series of mishaps, the cooler gets switched with someone’s picnic… read more