This is a mama alligator I saw on the banks of the Santa Fe River while kayaking last Spring with Nancee, her daughter Lauren, and Lauren’s boyfriend. Lauren took the picture — and once I looked carefully at the pic on a big monitor, saw that there are 6 baby gators on or near mama alligator. No wonder she was scowling at us!
It’s been pointed out to me that scowling is the normal gator expression. Maybe so, but in retrospect I’m glad we didn’t get closer — we thought we were just looking at an alligator, a fairly normal occurrence (though not always) on the Santa Fe River. We had no idea, we 4 people and 3 boats, that we were getting perilously (maybe) close to a mama gator defending her babies.