This 5ft long gator was getting in some ingenious fishing. He just parked himself at the foot of the spillway between Mullet Pond and Mallard Pond, opened up his mouth, then just waited for the fish to come to him.
Huntington Beach State Park is know for it’s accessibility to wildlife. Many of the Alligators will let you get very close to them before they are spooked and go off on their way. That doesn’t mean you should press your luck by getting too close. I was much farther back from this one than it appears from these photos.
The water splashing into his eyes does not bother him at all. Alligators have two sets of eyelids. The outer eyelids are the color of his skin and close together from the top and bottom to meet in the middle, like a person’s, but his inner lids close from side to side, starting at the inside edge, when he goes under water. The big bonus about these inner lids is that they are clear as optical glass; it’s like he puts on a pair swimming goggles that keep water from mucking up his vision and rubbish from hitting his eyeballs. These upgraded eyelids lets the alligator catch fish and whatever else may be swimming by on top or below the waterline.
After you visit Huntington Beach State Park please do yourself a favor and make the trip just across Highway 17 to Brookgreen Gardens sculpture garden and wildlife preserve.