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The ultimate guide to understanding the biology and behavior of the amazing and underappreciated American alligator.Few scenes put the senses on edge more than a submerged alligator, only eyes and snout showing, when peering across a southern lake on a misty morning. An iconic American predator, these reptiles grow to thirteen feet or more and can live as long as humans. Alligators are complex creatures, capable of terrific attacks and yet tending to their young in the same gentle way a mother duck looks after her brood. Once extremely numerous, alligators came close to extinction in the twentieth century, but thanks to conservation efforts have since made a comeback, reclaiming their rightful place as the monarchs of the southern wetlands.In this fascinating account, richly illustrated with more than 150 photographs from award-winning wildlife photographer Wayne Lynch, expert zoologist Kent A. Vliet introduces readers to the biology, ecology, and natural history of the American alligator. Sharing nuanced depictions of their hidden lives that will forever change the way you think of these giant reptiles, the book* combines captivating storytelling with the most current scientific facts* chronicles the life cycle of the alligator* explains why the alligator's precise anatomy and physiology make it so successful* covers a wide range of topics, from courtship and reproduction to communication, basking, nest-building, and hunting* reveals the alligator's sophisticated social life in detail* evaluates the alligator's environmental role as a keystone species* examines the complicated relationship between alligators and people
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