The Following Copyrighted Photos are Courtesy of Wildlife Photographers Robert and Rosemarie Fitzpatrick. Educators may click on each photo (to enlarge) and Download a High Quality Photo for Educational Purposes Only. Because they have spent countless hours at their own expense acquiring these incredible photos, they ask that they not be used for private or commercial gain without prior written consent .

They can be contacted at: or call 609-870-0393
Or you can write them at:
P O Box 65 Crosswicks N. J. 08515-0065


The American CROCODILE is listed as an ENDANGERED species
by the Federal Government but the American ALLIGATOR is only considered THREATENED. Hunting for Alligators is allowed in
some states, but is is heavily controlled. We don't carry gun and
only shot them with our camers.

Teacher: click on all the photos to Enlarge - they should open up in your
browser. If your Browser is capable of opening large files you will
see a orange square with arrows at the bottom right corner. Click on it to see them full size (16 x20). Otherwise copy and save the picture
to your hard-drive so it can be opened in a photo editing program.

Photos (c) to be used for Education and not for profit.

Wildlife Photographers Rosemarie and Bob Fitzpatrick
Bob Fitzpatrick Award Winner


Alligators are cold blooded and take every opportunity to
warm themselves in the sun. When the water temperatures
drop below about 60°F feeding behavior normally ceases.

Left is "Lazy Bones". He was gracious enough to let us
video tape and photograph him for almost 20 minutes. For safety
purposes we try to put something ( like a tree or bush) between us
and the bigger gators. Rose generally uses me. LB allowed me to
get within five feet of him but kept a sharp eye on us the whole time.
Lucky for us they are normally nocturnal feeders.

Rule of thumb for measuring alligators is "every inch from
their eyes to nose equals one foot" 12 inches = 12 foot.

Click on LEFT photo to enlarge.© 2004


To the right we have "Big Mo" short for big monster. Large males can weigh up to 1,000 pounds. We estimated (after he wandered off) that the base of the tree measured about 10" across. With that baseline
you can almost guess the size of this guy.

We have him growling on the AVI video, a sufficient enough warning to
keep us at least 10 yards away.

According to the National Park Service the Largest Alligator ever
recorded in Florida was 17 - 5 inches long (5.3 meters).
The largest alligator ever recorded measured 19 feet 2 inches (5.8 meters) and
was found in "Louisiana".

Click on RIGHT photo to enlarge.© 2004

Big Mo by Bob Fitzpatrick

This is "Smiley". Enlarge this picture to zoom in on his
pearly whites. Alligator teeth and skulls are marketed
throughout the Internet. Some say they bring good luck. The
wife and I prefer to see them in tact. Gators have approximately
80 teeth, which they use to ripe and tear their prey. They are also
used them in concert with their tails for defense purposes.

Smiley had just finish snacking on something? Perhaps a Gar,
one of gators favorite fish meals. We left our video camera
behind (never again) on this survey hike of a new trail, but got
some good still shots.

An advantage of filming "gators in wild" in May and
December is, less bugs and the weather is not too extreme.

Click on LEFT photo to enlarge © 2004

This massive specimen (right) was well aware that we were
directly behind him.. He probably thought I was a "Tail-Gator".
His tail equals about half their total body length and is used
for locomotion in the water and for protection in battle. More
then once we have experience how quickly they can do a
180 degree spin. The base of the tail is also used as a place
for storing fat.

They have an incredible sense of smell, especially during
mating season when the "musk" is in the air. They begin
reproducing begin the age of 8 - 10 years old. Courtship
begins in early April and normally last until
the end of May.

Click on RIGHT photo to enlarge.© 2004

"Tail Gator" by Bob Fitzpatrick

Young alligators have beautiful yellow markings at
birth. As they mature these yellow stripes gradually disappear.
In the wild the yearlings are a little more aggressive at
close range then the larger gators. Maybe because only 17 %
of them survive in the wilderness. A lot are eaten by
lager cannibals gators.

When we wandered in for this close up we received a courtesy
warning. Even though they have no vocal chords, alligators hiss,
grunt, cough, growl, and bellow. The warning signs they expel
when feeling threatened are quit distinguished, (scary too) and
should be heeded.

Even though this one was only 5 or 6 feet long it could do serious
damage to our lower extremities with the 80 some razor sharp teeth
in his mouth.

Click on LEFT photo to enlarge. © 2004

To our right we have "Rodney Razorback" affectionately
named because of his aggressive behavior. While Rosemarie
snapped this still shot I tried to get closer with the video camera.
His posture and snarl let us know that this was going to be
a short photo session.

We never provoke or coax alligators with food (as many
photographers do to get that - action shot ). They can become
quit aggressive when feeling threatened as Randy did here.
Especially a mother protection her eggs or young.

For that reason we cut our visit with
him short. We need all our fingers to hold the cameras.

Click on RIGHT photo to enlarge.© 2004

RODNEY by Rosemarie Fitzpatrick
Family affair - Rosemarie Fitzpatrick

Looking through the viewfinder of a camera limits
our peripheral vision. While filming we are usually
flanked by gators or other wildlife. Having a vigilant
partner with a eye for danger is paramount.

It has been our experience that gators get a lot of down time.
Since they
feed mostly at night they nap a lot in the daytime sun.
They are cold blooded and utilize the warmth of the sun to
regulate their body temperature.

Fortunately for us, we were not invited to the slumber party
in the picture to the left .

Click on LEFT photo to enlarge.© 2004



This "log in the water" surfaced early enough to
allow us to pause, rather then march forward into dangerous
territory. Whenever we're in tight spaces we always determine a point
of egress or exit to keep physical harm to a minimum. So far so good.

These sometimes precarious surroundings are occupied also by
poisonous snakes that come down from the trees, out from under
the brush or on float the water surface. The most common
Venomous Snakes include: the Cottonmouth,
Copperhead, Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake and beautiful
but deadly Coral Snake.

Other dangers to consider in the southern swaps are the Bobcats
and Black Bears. And if luck is with you (keep the camera on Auto),
maybe even a Panther.

Click on RIGHT photo to enlarge © 2004

Dangerous Log by Rosemarie
Great Heron by Rosemarie Fitzpatrick

While we were moving through the brush this beautiful
Great Blue Heron stepped out in front of us. He posed
for about three seconds, just enough time to activate the shutter.

We have seen the moorehens, herons, turtles, and anhinga
living in harmony with the alligators throughout the swamps.
This harmonious facade doesn't mean that that they won't
become part of the gators menu if he so desires.

Click on LEFT photo to enlarge.© 2004



Most of the time we are in isolate areas by ourselves.
Having my wife "Professor Rose" ( adjunct college professor)
along is very comforting. She received her Bachelor of
Arts in Education, then graduated from Nursing school as an RN.

She followed up with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing
and finally Graduate studies receiving a Master in Science
as Nurse Practitioner.

Not only will she go where most men fear. She is pretty
good at taking care of the cuts and scratches we receive along
the hiking trails. The collage around her (right) displays
some of her up close and personal friends she photographed.

Click on LEFT photo to enlarge.© 2004

Beautiful Wife by: Husband Bob

Indian Joe

To the LEFT we have the elusive "Indian Joe". Remember,
he was the scary character that Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn
matched wits with.

We wanted to get some close ups but the sun was starting to
set and we didn't want to be his first meal of the evening.

We recommend the purchase of Nature and Wildlife Field
Guides (available at book stores and on the web) and
contacting your local Wildlife Station before wandering
into uncharted wildlife areas.

Click on LEFT photo to enlarge.© 2004




We have spent countless hours taking stills and videos of
Alligators, Eagles, Ospreys, Herons, Egrets, Anhinga, Wood Storks,
Ibis, and Limpkins to mention a few.
Several years ago we noticed
there were less snakes on our December Tours. Maybe because of
the massive "winter" bird population at that time? Makes sense to me.

We came across this Heron to the (right) swallowing a snake.
Mistakenly I forgot to reset the digital video-cam to AUTO.
So, all I got was a blurred video.

Well, at least Rosemarie was prepared and took this beautiful shot.

This is our Secret Sanctuary we call "Paradise".

Click on RIGHT photo to enlarge © 2004

Award winner White Heron
Dino by Rosemarie Fitzpatrick

We call this awesome creature to the left "Dino" because
he resembles a Dinosaur.. When enlarged this photo shows
you the beautiful armor-like body design.

He was quite the model, allowing us to spend a half hour
filming before letting us know we wore out our welcome.
This animals feel very secure in their "home element".
Fortunately there are no tourist (or anybody) to
disturb us
or the wildlife while taking our photos.

We believe a lot of the gators we encounter in the isolated
swamps and jungle terrain have never seen humans and
therefore may be examining us for the first time also.

Click on LEFT photo to enlarge.© 2004

For several years we tried to go through this path without
running back after finding "hidden" danger. On our videos you can
see us running out of this place several times. We call this trail
'ambush alley'. The brush and overhead tree limbs create a tunnel
effect - fully limiting your vision of the"gators in the lurch".

The good news is - once you cross through, as we finally did,
you enter
"Paradise". In this shot you can see the beautiful
Great Heron on the other side waiting for us.

Where is our Secret Sanctuary ?
It's a secret.

Click on RIGHT photo to enlarge our "Pathway to Paradise".

Path to Paradise

Wildlife Photographer Bob Fitzpatrick


Bob Fitzpatrick, pictured with gator friend (to his bottom right)
and his wife Rosemaire have a insatiable passion for life and
learning. Capturing wildlife, and the wilderness they inhabit
on film is one of his many interest.

Bob and his wife Rosemarie make it clear they are not
wildlife experts. They have however, tapped the resources of
many who are. They recommend that you contact the local
wildlife park headquarters before approaching areas where
these magnificent beasts (or any other wildlife) may dwell.

In the event we misspelled something or you have updated
information relative subject matter, please send corrections
to us at our e-mail:

BELOW are some other shots we took (without text). The
saying goes "a picture is worth a 1000 words".


Jumbo Gator

RANDY Razorback

Femal Anhinga Blue Heron Award Winner
Swamp Gator by Bob Fitzpatrick Gator Napping
Blue Heron
Stumpy one arm gator Gator Food Turtle
ROUGH TRAILS Dangerous Area
Watch were you step Heron in the Shadows
Great Heron in tree Gator Swamp Path