The alligator's life history
The American Alligator, although very well known throughout the territory it inhabits, is a maligned and much-misunderstood reptile, and but little accurate data has been recorded concerning its life history. Owing to the location of my home, I have had unusual opportunities to observe alligators all of my life. Avery Island, Louisiana, where I was born and have always lived, is a series of hills rising about two hundred feet above the coastal plain of South Louisiana and is located about halfway between New Orleans and the Texas line.
This happens to be about the centre of the greatest abundance of the Louisiana Alligators. In my boyhood days before these reptiles had been disturbed by hide-hunters I came in contact with them constantly, and seeing them was such an everyday occurrence that no unusual notice was taken of them by the children playing and swimming in the streams.
They were looked upon as part of our natural surroundings, and we paid no more attention to them than we did to the flocks of birds about the place. Our old family home, built-in 1832 on the southwest side of Avery Island (which island covered about six thousand acres of hill and low land in its entirety, and has been the property of my family for several generations), stands upon a high hill that slopes down to the boat landing on the bayou, about five hundred yards from the house. Among the earliest remembrance of my childhood is running down with my brothers and cousins and other small boys in the warm summer afternoons to the boathouse to swim; each boy trying to see who could get in the water first.
I. Interesting Facts and Mis-Statements About
II. Habitat, Dens and Hibernation 25
III. Food 40
IV. Rate of Growth and Size 57
V. Teeth 66
VI. Voice 69
VII. Enemies 76
VIII. Nest and Nest Building 88
IX. Incubation and Growth of Young 105
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