First, he suggested we draw an alligator cartoon figure (he knows our level of skill).
- “We’ve got a whole lot of choppers.” They sure do! They have between 74 and 80 teeth in their jaws at any given time, and as a tooth falls out another one grows. Alphonso said his father went through 2,000 teeth in its lifetime.
- “I’ve mastered the use of tools.” Alphonso told us he and his friends balance sticks and branches on their heads to attract birds looking for nesting material.
- “All the women in my family are devoted moms.” For a cold-blooded animal, an alligator sure has a warm and loving heart towards their young. She stays by their nest for 65 days and once they are born, she protects them for up to a year.
- “If the weather had been colder while I was gestating, my name might have been Allie.” For alligators, sex is determined by temperature. Eggs exposed to temperatures above 93°F become males, while those at 86 °F become females.
- “We have some cool courtship moves.” Besides making a noise with enough intensity to cause the surface of the water around the male to ripple and dance, their moves also include head-slapping on the water’s surface, snout and back rubbing, and blowing bubbles. Most American women are lucky to get flowers or the door held open for us!
We shared some grapes with Alphonso and then he had to leave. You know we couldn’t resist saying “SEE YOU LATER, ALLIGATOR.”