The Amazing Alligator
The American Alligator is a highly complex animal that is exquisitely designed for survival in swampy waters.
The armor plated alligator has thick scaly structures called scutes covering his body. Scutes (from the Latin Scuta meaning shield) are bony external plates. When a scute has a bony base it is called an osteoderm. The alligator has large osteoderms running down his back. These structures protect him from many predators, such as fish, while the gator is young and still low on the food chain.
The alligator is also perfectly camouflaged to its murky surroundings. Juveniles have high contrast markings to blend in to the reedy and grassy habitat along the water’s edge. These markings fade with age causing adults to appear a uniform black or dark green. This allows these apex predators to appear to be floating logs in the swamp, that is until they lunge with surprising agility and speed to catch their prey.
The alligator is perfectly suited for his aquatic lifestyle. His eyes, nose and ear slits are all positioned on the top of his head, allowing most of his body to remain submerged while he monitors the water surface and shoreline. When he plunges into the water, his nose and ear slits are designed to close, keeping the water out. And to find his prey underwater, he has built-in goggles: nictitating membranes, clear membranes to cover his eyes. When the Alligator attacks his prey, and drags them underwater to eat, there is a special valve at the back of his throat that allows him to open his mouth and eat his food underwater without water flooding into his throat choking him.
These are all amazing design features that God gave to the Alligator so that he can survive in the swamp.
While these creatures are certainly dangerous apex predators affected by the sin curse , it is important to remember that they still reflect the genius and handiwork of their Creator and they inspire a natural awe in us.
Let us praise our Lord for the wonders that He has created for us to enjoy, appreciate, and learn from!
Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God. Job 37:14
*Creation Minute Articles based on excerpts from the book, “Inspired Evidence” by Julie Von Velt and Bruce Malone.
Creation Minutes can be heard on Friendship With God Radio Program by Tom Cantor.