Meet the Alligators

Audrey Laine
Cypress
Sally
Kitty
Laura
Johnny
Okefenokee Joe
Obadiah
Doc
Rambo
BDE
BEI
BDL
BIN

BDE

Name: BDE
Sex: Male
Species: American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)
Stage of Life: Adult
Length: 2.75m / 9’ 0”
Estimated Weight: 86kg / 190lbs
Tail Tag: Purple 152
Tail Notches: BDE
Tagged Date: Sat Tag 07/18/2020
Tag Status: Removed 7/30/2021
Tagged Location: Okefenokee Adventures, Folkston, GA
Sponsors: Okefenokee Swamp Park

Close up of BDE head

Description: Notch code BDE is an adult male American alligator living in the Okefenokee Swamp. He was the first alligator to be integrated into our satellite tagging study from the Okefenokee Adventures entrance in Folkston Georgia. For the most part this male appears to have a relatively small primary home range and hangs out right around where he was captured. He did however exhibit a large move in early March 2021 where he left his normal range and traveled more than three miles out into a different part of the swamp. He explored around this new area for about three weeks before he again made a three mile move back to his normal territory. It is unclear what caused this large move, but we can speculate that because the move happened in March he was most likely moving in response to larger alligators moving around looking for mates.

Before he was captured and fitted with a satellite tag, BDE was always hanging around boats and people, specifically fishermen. While this may seem cool, BDE displayed classic begging behavior. He had learned that fishermen can often lead to an easy meal because they gut their fish and discard the scraps in the water. Now some fishermen may have been trying to feed him and others were just doing this absentmindedly, but it is still a great example that can be used to educate the public on the dangers of feeding alligators, even if it may be unintentional. The reason that feeding can be so dangerous to both humans and alligators is that it creates bold alligators that approach people because they offer food. This can easily lead to someone being bit if they get too close which not only results in the injury of a person but also the death of the alligator as it would have to be euthanized. In order to protect the animals located in the National Wildlife Refuge, we do not name or disclose any locations of the alligators located within the federal boundaries of the wilderness areas.

BDE Overall Map

BDE was the first alligator from Okefenokee Adventures to be fitted with a satellite tag. This map shows the year (July 2020-July 2021) that he had a satellite tag attached. Overall BDE had a fairly small territory as he usually stayed close to the boat basin, but he did make a 3+ mile move in the summer of 2021.

BDE Large Move Map

During the summer of 2021 BDE variated from his normal territory and traveled more than 3+ miles from the boat basin out into the refuge and back again.

BEI

Name: BEI
Sex: Male
Species: American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)
Stage of Life: Adult
Length: 2.56m / 8′ 5″
Estimated Weight: 73kg / 160lbs
Tail Tag: NA (Tail tags not applied within wilderness area)
Tail Notches: BEI
Tagged Date: Sat Tag 10/10/2020
Tag Status: Active
Tagged Location: Okefenokee Adventures, Folkston, GA
Sponsors: UGA

BEI head from above

Description: BEI is an adult male American alligator living in the Okefenokee Swamp. This is the second alligator to be integrated into our satellite tagging study from the Okefenokee Adventures entrance in Folkston Georgia. Much like the first male we tagged at Okefenokee Adventures, this male also seems to have a very small home range and does not venture very far from where he was captured. BEI did have an interesting malformity/injury in that he had a small hole in his snout that you could feel air coming out of. While we were trying to capture him, he would submerge when we approached and then resurface nearby after a minute or two. We believe that this hole negatively affects his ability to hold his breath and stay submerged for more than a few minutes at a time. That being said he seems to have learned to cope with it as he has reached 8.5ft in length, a length many alligators never live to see. In order to protect the animals located in the National Wildlife Refuge, we do not name or disclose any locations of the alligators located within the federal boundaries of the wilderness areas.

BEI Overall Map

This map shows the overall movements during the year (October 2020 – October 2021) that he had a satellite tag. BEI was a smaller male and his territory reflected this as he rarely ventured out from where he was captured. The one exception to this was when there was a drought and the water level dropped. When this happened he was forced to move out of his territory to areas of deeper water.

BEI Movement caused by drought

This map shows the one time that BEI left his usual territory. This movement was caused more by necessity than choice as drought caused water levels in the prairies to drop significantly. In order to find water and food, he had to move to areas that had not yet dried out.

BDL

Name: BDL
Sex: Male
Species: American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)
Stage of Life: Adult
Length: 2.83m / 9ft’4″
Estimated Weight: 98kg / 215lbs
Tail Tag: Purple 156
Tail Notches: BDL
Tagged Date: Sat Tag 04/8/2021
Tag Status: Active
Tagged Location: Okefenokee Adventures, Folkston, GA
Sponsors: UGA

BDL Body from the front

Description: Notch code BDL is an adult male American alligator living in the Okefenokee Swamp. He is the third alligator to be integrated into our satellite tagging study from the Okefenokee Adventures entrance in Folkston Georgia. While BDL does not have the size of some of our other adult male alligators, he does appear to be an older alligator. Most of his osteoderms are worn down and he has scars and skin tags covering much of his body. In order to protect the animals located in the National Wildlife Refuge, we do not name or disclose any locations of the alligators located within the federal boundaries of the wilderness areas.

BDL Overall Map

This map shows the movements of BDL over the five months (April 2021 – September 2021) that he has had a satellite tag. So far BDL has shown to have the largest territory of any alligator we have caught at Okefenokee Adventures as he will commonly make one-mile moves.

BIN

Name: BIN
Sex: Male
Species: American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)
Stage of Life: Adult
Length: 2.98m / 9′ 9″
Estimated Weight: 113 kg / 250lbs
Tail Tag: NA (Tail tag not applied in wilderness area)
Tail Notches: BIN
Tagged Date: Sat Tag 08/9/2021
Tag Status: Active
Tagged Location: Okefenokee Adventures, Folkston, GA
Sponsors: UGA

BIN face from the front

Description: BIN is an adult male American alligator living in the Okefenokee Swamp. This is the 4th alligator to be incorporated into our satellite tag study at Okefenokee adventures and the 13th overall. BIN was in great body condition and his only real injury was that he was missing the last inch or two of his tail. BIN is the largest animal we have caught at Okefenokee Adventures to date. Male BIN was caught at a crossroads of trails and canals so it will be very interesting to see which way he goes. In order to protect the animals located in the National Wildlife Refuge, we do not name or disclose any locations of the alligators located within the federal boundaries of the wilderness areas.

gator eye
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All photos by University of Georgia Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, unless otherwise noted.