King of the River II

Rebecca Cruz

Orlando, United States

  • Artist
  • Artwork Comments 6

Artist's Description

An American Alligator slides into the Ocklawaha River in Central Florida.

The Ocklawaha River is the principal tributary of the St. Johns River and forms the western boundary of the Ocala National Forest. The 110 mile long river flows north from Central Florida until it joins the St. Johns River near Palatka, Florida.

The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is found only in the southeastern part of the United States with the highest populations found in Florida and Louisiana—a much smaller part of its former range, due in part to change in climate. Alligators can be found in a range of habitats, including marshland, swamps, rivers, lakes and ponds.

Alligators are often referred to as “cold-blooded” animals, a literal term, as they cannot automatically control their body temperatures. Being cold-blooded actually is a survival tactic because they don’t need to eat as much or as often as their warm-blooded counterparts.

These reptiles are covered with scales or other hard, protective plates. The skull has two holes behind the eye socket that serve as attachment sites for muscle, enabling crocodilians to extend the muscles while exerting literally tons of pressure on their prey. Yet surprisingly, the jaw muscles are weak and can actually be held together with a thick rubber band, a fact that has been skillfully exploited by the Seminole and Miccosukee Indians during their alligator-wrestling shows.

Alligators are armed with 80 potentially lethal teeth, shaped like cones, making them perfect for both grabbing and holding onto prey. Below each tooth is a replacement tooth that will appear when the primary tooth gets damaged or worn. However, the teeth aren’t suitable for chewing; alligators swallow their prey either in large chunks or whole, depending on the size of the prey. The alligator diet consists mostly of fish, turtles and snakes, although they have been known to strike an occasional small deer, wading bird, raccoon or even small pets.


Artwork Comments

  • MKWhite
  • Rebecca Cruz
  • amarica
  • Rebecca Cruz
  • oiseau
  • Irene Clarke
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