A is for Alligator

Welcome to the first week of the 3rd round of Blogging through the Alphabet. I’m so glad you’ve joined us and if you happen to be blogger, I invite you to take the challenge of blogging a different letter of the alphabet each week and linking up with us! 
For today, I want to share more about our recent vacation to Florida. 
Because of the animal lover that resides in my house, much of our field trips and vacations seem to center around God’s land, sea, and air creatures. I’ve already shared with you a little about our visit to meet Winter the Dolphin and to the Key West Butterfly Conservatory. Today, we will head into the Everglades for a peek at the alligator. 
We were excited that our friends, Kelli — Adventurez in Childrearing and her boys were able to join us! We spent the day exploring the water near the visitor’s center at Shark Valley, a part of Everglades National Park, took a hike, and then boarded a tram for a trip right into the everglades! 

The alligator is the keeper of the Everglades. Because this area of Florida basically has 2 seasons — rainy and dry — the alligator plays a vital role in the survival of most all of the animals living in this ecosystem. Do you know why? I’ll give you a hint . . . it’s currently the dry season. See how dry everything looks? It’s hard for birds, amphibians and reptiles to survive when it’s so dry . . . there’s just not much water to drink. 
 But take a look here. This is an alligator hole. During the rainy season, alligators dig these incredible holes that fill with water — enough water to stay alive during the dry season. 
These alligator holes become a refuge for all kinds of Everglades wildlife — birds, turtles, lizards, snakes, frogs, fish, and snails. Of course, these animals also become prey for the hungry alligator, as well as wading birds. 
Everywhere we went at Shark Valley, we were met with alligators. Everywhere! They don’t seemed to be fazed much about all the people around. I suppose they are used to tourists gawking and taking pictures. It was still a little unsettling to me how close we were to them. Supposedly, they give a warning growl before they lunge though. I think that little tidbit of info from the tour guide was supposed to make us feel better. Amazingly, that didn’t really make me feel any safer. 
Maybe if the were cuter. Like a panda or something. I don’t know. 
Anyway, while I couldn’t find much about the alligator that is pretty to look at, I do have immense respect for what they do to keep the Everglades alive. Without them, the other more beautiful creatures residing there would not survive. 
Next week, I’ll tell you more about some of those, in B is for Birds. 
If you’d like to read more about the alligator, here are few links for you:
Here’s a free Crocodilians Lapbook from Homeschool Share, our science study for this week!
Here’s a Pinterest board with ideas for an alligator unit study

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