American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)
This is one of two gators that make the “Blue Hole” in Big Pine their home. Big Pine Key is a large-ish island about 30 miles up the chain of the Florida Keys from where they end at Key West. I took a jaunt to the Blue Hole this past Friday specifically to try and spot the gators: happily, they were snoozing right next to the observation platform!
The American alligator is one of the only two living species of alligator in the world; the other species lives in China! Alligators are cousins to caimans, and are further-removed relatives of crocodiles!
The easiest way to tell alligators (and caimans!) and crocodiles apart is their snout: alligators and caimans have a stumpier, rounded snout, while crocodiles have a V-shaped snout.