Mother alligator will will attend her brood well after they
hatch, perhaps a year or longer, providing protection from
predators, which include large fish, birds, racoons, bears,
bobcats, other alligators, and other large animals that eat
meat. It has been reported that the mother may eat her young
after a year or so if they do not leave and establish their
independence. This behavior seems to be nature's way of protecting the line of
progeny, as the growing alligator competes for immediate
resources with the mother and younger siblings.
The young will
remain in proximity to the mother, and will even bask on the top
of her body as she floats in the water. Only about three of the
average of 30-35 babies that hatch each year will reach adulthood,
due to heavy predation upon them. Thus, mother's guardianship
behavior is crucial to the survival of the species.
Please refer to the "Reproduction"
section for a discussion of the maternal care that occurs before