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Crocodilian images which reveal fascinating stories told from a visual perspective.


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White Christmas

Albino American alligator

December's Pic of the Month was taken by John White, with a seasonal twist on the American alligator we know so well. This is an albino alligator, photographed at the Virginia Living Museum. The alligator was on loan from the St Augustine Alligator Farm.

Albinism is a very rare genetic condition where there is a lack of pigment in the animal. Albino (or "white") crocodilians are exceptionally rare in the wild, and as you can imagine they don't survive very long. Apart from looking like white chocolate to a potential predator, they burn easily from the UV rays of the sun. Captive albino alligators and crocodiles must be kept in shaded conditions to prevent very serious sunburn. Vitamin D3 becomes an essential part of their diet to make up for this lack of UV radiation.

This alligator is in the process of eating a fish, which you can see is being manipulated in the jaws. Alligators and other crocodilians are quite dextrous when handling food, using the tongue to pin the food to the top of the mouth, flicking the head sideways and backwards to reposition the prey, crushing it with the rear teeth if it's large enough, and then tipping the head back and swallowing.


Would you like to enter your best photograph as a potential Pic of the Month? Send it to me and I'll include the best here each month. Each year I run a competition where the best photograph each year is awarded an Ilfochrome print. All the entries are in for 2002, but you can always enter for 2003. The only criteria for submitting a photograph is this: it must capture the attention.


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