From the Everglades in Florida, through the bald cypress swamps of Louisiana and into our Texas wetlands, the Gulf Coast is home to the American alligator.

I have long been fascinated with these creatures that seem to spend hours laying perfectly still at the water's edge, soaking up the sun to heat their cold-blooded bodies, only to burst into movement in a split second to gobble down a duck, a turtle or to escape a bigger competitor.

In the 1970s, the American alligator was close to extinction due to over-harvesting for their skin, which was used for clothing and fashion accessories. Luckily, with the establishment of a string of wildlife preserves along the Gulf Coast, this ancient reptile has recovered.

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