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An alligator will sometimes catch animals on the shore, carry them down to the bottom, drown and devour them, but ordinarily the reptile glides away from man and disappears in the water. If wounded, however, they become very ferocious. The hollowing out or roughening of the water as well as the lithe activity of the long body, both so plainly shown, tell us better than words are able to do of the power which the alligator posseses. Those strong jaws with their rows of long, sharp teeth, or the powerful tail which can deal a terrific blow, would either one be able to conquer almost any enemy but man. On land they are almost helpless. Alligators grow slowly and take nearly a century to attain their full size. When they are old they are greenish-black in color and from fifteen to seventeen feet in length. The female lays from one to two hundred eggs in a mound of stratified mud and grass. These are hatched by the heat of the sun and decomposition of the grass, but the mother watches near by and when the little ones come out from their shells she takes charge of them and helps to find their food. In the United States alligators are being rapidly exterminated by hunters who kill them for their hides and teeth. The teeth are fine ivory, while beautiful, soft leather is made from the skins. The eggs also are eagerly sought. Between 1880 and 1900, according to the United States Fish Commission, three millions of alligators were killed in Florida alone. They are now rarely seen outside of Florida and Louisiana. At night they are very active, and make a bellowing noise very trying to the nerves of people who are not used to it. During cold or very dry weather they burrow in the mud.
Publisher & City:
Keystone View Company: Meadville, Pa., St. Louis, Mo., Portland, Ore., New York, Toronto, Can., London
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Scan courtesy of Roy Winkelman. Image retouched and converted to anaglyph in 2005 by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology at the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. View this image using 3D glasses with the blue lens over the left eye and the red lens over the right eye.

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