The Amazing Alligator
The American Alligator is a highly complex animal that is exquisitely designed for survival in swampy waters.
The armor plated alligator has thick scaly structures called scutes covering his body. Scutes (from the Latin Scuta meaning shield) are bony external plates. When a scute has a bony base it is called an osteoderm. The alligator has large osteoderms running down his back. These structures protect him from many predators, such as fish, while the gator is young and still low on the food chain.
The alligator is also perfectly camouflaged to its murky surroundings. Juveniles have high contrast markings to blend in to the reedy and grassy habitat along the water’s edge. These markings fade with age causing adults to appear a uniform black or dark green. This allows these apex predators to appear to be floating logs in the swamp, that is until they lunge with surprising…
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