American Alligator with Baby Gator (on Its Head)


I had incredible luck today, while on Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, when I was able to photograph a VERY large mother alligator with one of her young gators on her head. I had heard of such gator behavior, but I never imagined I would be able to photograph it.


Based on the length of the baby gator (about 12″), I estimate the length of the mother alligator to be over 10 feet. As you can see from the images, she was keeping a close eye on me.

Mother-and-Baby-Gators-croppedI shot the images with a Nikon D810 and 80-400mm lens. Since it was very overcast and the light poor and because I was hand-holding the camera, I shot the images at a high ISO of 2000 to enable shooting at 1/500 sec, f/5.6. Because the D810 produces low noise images at high ISOs, I did not need to apply any noise reduction to the images.

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About Stephen L Tabone

Retired Executive Consultant and Nature Photographer
This entry was posted in Nature, Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, Wildlife and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to American Alligator with Baby Gator (on Its Head)

  1. maryann venezia says:

    Ok….that seemed a bit close…..that was a huge mama gator…. Maryann

  2. Anonymous says:

    WOW! What a great shot! On a day when most photographers would have chosen to stay home, comfortable and dry, you go out and bring home a prize shot! I am really looking forward to joining you this week and hope for more opportunities like this. As always, thanks for sharing your amazing work.

  3. Ken Snover says:

    My friend who is a Gator (U of F) fan loved it!!! Great shots!

  4. Kee says:

    Wonderful shot! A happy New Year, Steve!

  5. Pam says:

    Your pictures came out beautifully! I’ve always hoped to have the opportunity to photograph this. Hoping to get lucky sometime. She is an excellent gator – thanks for sharing!

  6. Mac says:

    Remarkable. Don’t get too close or you’’ll end up as lunch. Dad

  7. researchlady says:

    Great photos! How close were you? That mom looks ready to pounce at you!

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