Alligators actually take care of their young for as long as several years. This one is probably about a year old, so his mother might be out of the picture by now, but I’m not willing to risk that. While most of the time gators will ignore humans, if they think their young are being threatened, they will charge.
Seeing this guy made me very happy, though. A couple of years ago, the lake had several large gators, one of which would swim up to the dock every time someone walked out onto it in the evening. It is very likely someone had been feeding the gator, and that’s why it came out when it heard people, but the fact is, a gator that is no longer afraid of humans can become dangerous. So, one day, the large gators that we used to see a lot of were removed. Since then, there have been other gators in the lake, but they have been smallish. If there is a year-old gator swimming around, that means that there are still larger gators out there. I always love when nature trumps humans (as long as I’m not the human being trumped!), so the thought that they are there cheers me up.