Alligators at Kennedy Space Center
Click on any inset image to see an enlargement.

Taking these pictures was riskier than I intended.  Anyone crucial to the success of MAP who would like to take alligator close-up photos before the launch, please let me know. I'll give you nice prints of these instead.

Wildlife is abundant at Kennedy Space Center. There is a pond full of alligators near to SAEF II, the facility at Kennedy Space Center in which MAP is being prepared for launch.

I was taking a photograph of the calm and restful alligator at the right when another alligator climbed out of the pond and came straight towards me.

I never understood if it was driven by hunger or curioustiy. I did not see this alligator until I put my camera down.  When I saw her, I jumped away, and the alligator hunched down, as in the photo at the left.  Yes, this does imply that we were once much closer together than in these pictures.

Dissapointed that I noticed her in time, I suppose, she walked back to the pond.

How do Alligators hunt?

I noticed that at dusk all the alligators get back in the pond and lie very near the shore, with just their eyes and nose above water.  To check if they stay there all night, awake and waiting for animals to approach the water, I came back at midnight and took a flash photo.  What I see in the photo is that all along the shore there are return reflections from the alligators eyes, accompanied by a slightly dimmer reflection of the eye in the pond.  I count five alligators in this photo. 

My advice: do not drink from the pond at night!