An American alligator at Florida's Everglades NP. It is likely that this alligator had a brood of hatchlings somewhere close and was guarding them from intruders. Alligators are caring parents and it is thought that survival rates of young American alligators are higher than most other members of the crocodilian species.
Alligators are a keystone species of that region and help shape and maintain its ecosystem. They construct small ponds for their nest. These serve as water reservoirs during the dry season and provide habitat to several other species. Alligators also keep other species in check, including introduced ones such as nutria and the Burmese python.