1. Emmet, OM says

    Awww… cute li’l fellers. They’ll make some nice shoes when they grow up.

  2. NMcC says

    The one on the left looks a bit like a duck – if you close your eyes real tight and turn off your monitor. So, you see, old Kirk Cameltoe isn’t completely insane.

  3. says

    Aw – but they look so cute at that age. No wonder some people like them as pets.

    How old do you think they get before they get too big to flush down the toilet to become sewer gators?

  4. LordJiro says

    See, if we could breed alligators/crocodiles to STAY small and cute, they’d be awesome pets.

  5. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Reminds me of my honeymoon, actually. My wife and I made a 6 week trip to Brazil, including the Pantanal, the worlds largest wetlands. Our trip to the Pantanal included a bunch of Italians who were more interested in talking than seeing wildlife, so our guide paired us with two of the quieter Italians and stuck the others in another boat with his apprentice. After that we saw lots of cool critters.

    On the way out of the Pantanal, the guide caught a baby alligator. One of the Italians thought it looked so cute he reached out to pet it–and yes, they do have teeth at that age! Over the years, we figure the alligator has grown, so the story has, too. In redent tellings, the Italian has lost his entire arm to the massive beast.

  6. MadScientist says

    Never smile at a crocodile, no you can’t get friendly with a crocodile …

    I agree they’ll make gorgeous shoes (and belts, and ladies’ bags) when they’re older.

  7. polomint38 says

    Does anyone know what they taste like?

    probably chicken I suppose!

  8. Holbach says

    Hey, we’re here, thanks to evolution and nothing else, for we don’t know nothing else!

  9. Art says

    Credulous tourist – “Will they eat off my hand?”
    Friendly Guide – “Clean up to the elbow.”

  10. BK says

    I’ve both hugged a full-grown alligator, and I’ve eaten one. Strangely enough, hugging one turned out to be the better of the two experiences, but I’m sure that’s only due to the alligator deciding that humans don’t taste very good, so he ignored them.

    This was an awesome pic.

  11. Sven DiMilo says

    How long until Janine posts a video for “Amos Moses the Cajun”? (He hunted alligator for a livin’…he just knoeck ’em in the head with a stomp.)

  12. Felix says

    See, if we could breed alligators/crocodiles to STAY small and cute, they’d be awesome pets.

    If we could breed them to have an appetite for dangerous fundies, they’d be moar of an awesome pet.

  13. says

    “Friendly,”? Hah! I’ve seen a pack of miniature two-legged snakeagators gang-tackle a moose after a gruelling 17-hour chase. They devoured the entire thing, horns and all, in less than 10 minutes.

    So don’t talk to me about “friendly”.

  14. Dust says

    I tasted gator once, at the Rib Cook Off.
    It tasted like swamp water to me.


  15. Sven DiMilo says

    It makes me sad that anyone would look at these animals and see shoes. Look, I’m feeling sad:

  16. Desert Son says

    Additional re: gator taste

    When I had it, years ago, the meat tasted strong, kinda gamy, and not at all like chicken. I had it in a po’ boy. I’m glad I tried it, but not a meal I would seek out in the future.

    No kings,


  17. Fred the Hun says

    Posted by: polomint38 @ 11

    Does anyone know what they taste like?

    Despite these comments:

    Dust @ @0

    I tasted gator once, at the Rib Cook Off.
    It tasted like swamp water to me.


    gaypaganunitarianagnostic @24

    Ate alligator once. More like beef than chicken

    I think if they are prepared right (grilled, hot and spicy) and served with ice cold beer they go down pretty well.

  18. KI says

    The Minnesota State Fair had ‘gator on a stick one year – it was gristly and kinda gamey/metallic. Of course, you had to dig through the deep-fried crust to find it. It got discontinued after a couple of years, and this is at an event where things like “hot dish on a stick” and deep-fried pickle slices are huge sellers. (The hot dish on a stick is actually pretty good – tater tots and meatballs alternated on the stick, battered and deep-fried, with a small side of Campbell’s Cream-of-Mushroom soup for a dip. Very Minnesotan.)

  19. says

    What well-prepared gator most resembles is well-prepared (and fresh!) shark. Mild fish taste, dense texture like a porkchop. Meat from the tail is supposed to be the best.

    Also, I’m told by someone who’s tasted both, a lot like Bornean monitor lizard.

  20. Bill Sheehan says

    By the way, according to the San Diego Zoo, the collective term for alligators is “Congregation”, as in “A congregation of alligators.”

  21. JohnnieCanuck says

    Congregation. That’s what they called the people in the pews back when I was being misled.

    Cognitive dissonance. That’s what I’m experiencing as I try to replace my image of a bunch of sheep gathered for their shearing with one of alligators in the aisles.

  22. says

    They already have miniature crocs. They’re called caimens! I’ve always wanted a caimen as a pet. Probably wouldn’t do so well during the cold Alaska winters, and might eat my cat, but…you know…it’d be cool!

  23. David Marjanović, OM says

    At that size, they actually are friendly. Unlike certain dogs, crocodiles know exactly how big they are and how big you are.

    And while there is no crocoduck, there is a duckcroc.

    Do they have teeth yet?

    Obviously. They hatch with teeth. They don’t get milk after all…

    looks a bit like a duck – if you […] turn off your monitor

    Internet won, thread over.

    See, if we could breed alligators/crocodiles to STAY small and cute, they’d be awesome pets.

    Already happened. All you need is a time machine.

    (They’re not strictly alligators, though.)

    Behold: possibly the cutest ever smiling gators photo.

    :-} :-} :-}

    They’re called caimens!

    Well, there are pretty big caimans out there.

    (And there used to be insanely huge ones, too… but I digress, and my two links are used up, so…)

  24. cyan says

    such sweet little babies

    (cough, cough)

    only sweet because of whom they will grow to be

    don’t go fuzzy over babies: instead most appreciate the adults who once were babies, who survived to adulthood.

    mature animals are those with whom I have most empathy

    But every adult animal: I see the sweet little baby they once were, respecting their survival to adulthood; still retaining their potential, and then see what their experiences on that potential has produced. So all adults are sweet beings. All of you Pharyngulites, of course, exemplify this combination of potential, survival, and then even more potential. You all are sweet little babies: you always have been & always will be.

    Loves ya cause you’re still here, and loves the cute little babes you once were, because of that.

    Fundies: difficult to fit these in to the appreciation. Can designate more respect to the majority of other species’ individuals than to these members of our species.

    Every adult animal: I cursedly imagine their travails to adulthood and so then image the result of it were me experiencing those travials: pain

    but just secondary, emotional pain

    .. that emotional pain is nothing compared to personally experiencing the real visceral pain of each individual

    If there were a supernatural being with any powers over this world, it would not permit the suffering that is and has always been prevelant.

    The world is so preciously beautiful and it is also so indifferent to the individual being. Everyone of us reading PZ’s blog is so durned lucky to have been born with what we were and then to have experienced what we have experienced.

  25. Autumn says

    A few years ago, I was canoeing on a river near my home when I noticed an alligator which was staying just off the bank. Normally, at the appraoch of a human, an alligator will leave the bank and submerge; even the big ones are pretty shy. I was wondering what this particular specimen was doing hanging around. Then I heard the chirps. I slowed the canoe and stared at the bank until I saw them: about a dozen tiny hatchlings in a tight little group amongst the cyprus boles and roots.
    It’s amazing both how colorful they are and how well such a pattern renders them nearly invisible.
    I canoe on this particular river about once a week, and in the months that followed I spotted the family three or four more times, but only because I knew exactly where and what to look for.

  26. Anonymous says

    My Dad was a gator hunter back when it was legal down here in Florida. He brought home a 12 footer tied to a board that had been eating the neighbors cattle – pulled the cows into the lake and drowned them and then feasted over time on the carcass. He also brought home tiny babies once to my brother and I and we got to keep them for a week. He taught us how to feed them and they do have teeth but at that size they did not break the skin but were hard to pry off. ;-) At the end of the week he took them back to Mom who was still waiting for them at the other end of our lake. I have grown up with gators and they are marvelous animals who adapt surprisingly well to human civilization. Our gator population in Florida is now back up in the millions and we have to learn to live together or one (or both) of us may die. I have seen it lead to tragedies on both sides of the species line. A gator who attacks a human is of course doomed and foolish humans that put themselves in places where gators will do what they naturally do can get killed and of course the animal always has to go because these predators learn to hunt and once they learn to hunt humans they are too dangerous to keep around. If you get to Gainesville, Fl (home of the football gators) there is a place called Paynes Prairie, a natural treasure on the edge of the town, commonly known as a swamp, and full of gators by the hundreds. You can hike the dikes built across the prairie and survey them along with huge numbers of birds of all kinds. Right now they are mating and the males stick their heads and tails up and roar. Some of that roar is subsonic so it makes the water around their throat dance. Its hard not to be fond of an alligator. ;-)

  27. says

    And why are baby alligators cute? Parental care. Newly hatched alligators show the same alterations in features that new born kittens do, because those altered features trigger the same responses in adults. The desire to protect and nurture, the need to tend and and care. Infantile features trigger the same responses in the same regions of the brain in animals that can respond in that fashion. This can be seen in the response to infants with a condition in which their eyes are abnormally small. They don’t look right. They don’t look cute. Such infants also die at a very young age, usually around the age of two. Rarely much older. So what you see in that picture are two normal, healthy baby alligators. An animal in which the young do not exhibit the bonding behavior found in human, feline, or even rhino infants. An indication that mother-child bonding goes back a long way, but child-mother bonding is a more recent behavioral development.

    Here’s another thing, newly hatched baby alligators are actually cuter than new born humans. Kid you not. Fables aside human mothers do not automatically bond to their progeny. More often it takes time for the bonding to take place. Mothers who lose their infants at one, two, or three months of age have a more intense reaction at the death of a child than one who loses a new born. The same thing is true of puppies and kittens. A bitch quickly accepts the death of a newly whelped puppy, but shows strong distress when a cub eight weeks old dies. So when you look at that picture, keep in mind the advantage evolution gave to animals who show concern for others far more because of instinct than because of reason.

  28. Sven DiMilo says

    Newly hatched alligators show the same alterations in features that new born kittens do, because those altered features trigger the same responses in adults.

    I reckon you’ve got the selection pressure and adaptation backwards here–the parental response evolved to the pre-existing stimulus of juvenile appearance (which follows allometric growth patterns), i.e. relatively large eyes and short snouts (= “cute”).