Also from the side of the road in Myakka River State Park, I came across this small alligator in a drainage ditch. He was a little under two feet long, so he's probably still in his first year of life. Notice how bright the coloring is. It fades as they get older, but never completely goes away.
They're cute when they aren't big enough to kill and eat you.
He didn't like the attention he was getting. As soon as we knelt down to shoot some pictures, other people driving down the road noticed and then they stopped. Soon there was a small crowd of onlookers. The gator decided he was better off elsewhere.
Seeing him in the brush like this, you can get a good idea of why they have the coloration they do. He can disappear quite easily into the dead grass, and avoid all sorts of predators. Once they get big and loose most of that coloration, the only enemy they need to hide from is man.