Description: Sally is a mature, reproductive female American alligator. Sally is a great mother, diligently guarding her nest against predators while the eggs incubate and staying with her young during the first year(s) of their lives. American alligators are known to exhibit site fidelity, often nesting in the same location. Sally has two distinguished nesting sites that she historically uses – one being along the train tracks at OSP, the other being along the boardwalk at OSP. These locations are easily observed during visits to the park, making her a crowd favorite. She successfully nested in 2017 and 2018. In 2019, Sally adopted a pod of hatchlings and cared for them as her own. There was no evidence that Sally produced any offspring in 2020 nor was there any evidence that she allowed a male to court her. Sally was actually seen chasing off two males that tried to court her in 2020 in Obadiah and Okefenokee Joe. In the spring of 2021, Sally finally allowed Obadiah into her territory and nested on July 13th next to the boardwalk. Sally’s nest hatched on September 5th, 2021, she laid 30 eggs and 25 of them hatched.
On 5 June 2018, Sally was captured and fitted with a VHF radio transmitter prior to receiving satellite tags for the project. She was then manually tracked by Kristen for a couple of months. On 16 August 2018, Sally was recaptured, and her VHF transmitter was replaced by a satellite tag to provide us with a longer-running, more detailed understanding of her movement locations.
Sally Fascilitating Feeding of Hatchlings
Sally can be seen 1 m from the bank facing the center of the canal. At least four hatchlings can be seen behind her in the shallow water directly against the bank, in an area slightly dug out and maintained by Sally as a nursery site. Sally uses her hind legs to stir up the mud at the bottom of the canal and pushes it back towards the bank using her tail. While Sally is stirring up the mud and pushing water towards her hatchlings, they can be seen swimming closer to her and eating what was assume to be small invertebrates or vertebrates that were stirred up with the mud.
Sally Overall Map
This map shows the entirety of Sally’s movements during her nearly 2 years (September 2018-May 2020) with a satellite transmitter. Sally has a very distinct territory that is shown here. She occupies from Oscars’ pond and the boat dock to the gazebo on the main boat trail. Included in this territory is prime nesting and nursery habitat that is between the low boardwalk and the train tracks.
Sally Movements Fall
This map shows Sally’s movements in the fall of 2018. While the weather is still warm Sally moves all over her territory foraging for food and protecting her territory.
Sally Movements Winter
This map shows Sally’s movements in January and February of 2019 when the weather is still cold. The are she is occupying in this map is one of her overwintering nurseries where she keeps her young during the cold months. She stays in this one area where the water is shallow, and it is easier to protect her young.