Animals

By Kim Reader


This adorable photo of two baby alligators cuddling on their mum’s head in the Spring sunshine shows the softer side of these ‘cold blooded predators’.

PIC FROM MUXI WANG/MERCURY PRESS

The ‘touching’ snap of these toothy beasts was taken by editor Muxi Wang, 26, in Everglade’s National Park, Florida.

Muxi, of Vancouver, Canada, feels the shot shows the universal love of mothers for their babies even amongst reptiles with such a violent reputation.

Former professional snapper Muxi said: “The gator family in this photo were not moving. It seemed like the baby gators were having a good afternoon nap while their mother being cautious, looking around.

“I was really touched when I saw it. I’ve heard that mother gators would carry baby gators on their back to move, but I had never seen one in my life.

“For most of the time, people have this image that gators are cold-blooded predators.

“I do believe they are dangerous, too. However, this scene really made me feel that a mother’s love for her children is simply universal.

“I definitely think this shows a different side to alligators. Alligators can be fierce, but they can be gentle and cute, too. People should learn to protect and to live with wild animals.

PIC FROM MUXI WANG/MERCURY PRESS

“I consulted with animal experts and I’ve been told that though it is normal to see gator mums carrying their babies, it is relatively rare to see two small baby gators lying on their mother’s head, enjoying some sunshine.”

While Muxi is no stranger to gators, having studied at the University of Florida where the scaly critters can be seen wandering through campus, he still kept his distance and used a long lens.

The photographer took the photo on his Canon 5D Mark II and an EF70-200mm f4 lens.

Muxi, who is predominantly into landscape photography, started taking pictures in 2011 to have something to ‘show off’ but says since it has become a true passion and way of documenting his life.

Muxi said: “I am not unfamiliar with gators. I went to University of Florida, which has gators as her mascot.

PIC FROM MUXI WANG/MERCURY PRESS

“With thousands of swamps, pounds and rivers, Florida is like the paradise for alligators. It’s pretty often to see gators in the city, not to mention in the wild. Sometimes we even saw wild gators on our campus.

“But to be honest, as cute as this photo was, it was still scary. Although these creatures have been one of my favourites for a long time, I do understand that gator mothers could be extremely aggressive when strangers try to approach their babies.

“Besides, I did not want to bother them from enjoying the sunny afternoon. So I used my long lens, tried my best not to draw their attention, stayed low and kept a distance to take this photo.

“I am not really a wildlife photographer. I am more like a landscape person. I don’t even have appropriate gears for formal wildlife photography.

“When taking this photo, there was no sunshade or reflector, no all-day-long waiting and camouflage neither.

PIC FROM MUXI WANG/MERCURY PRESS

“This photo was just a product of correct time, good location, appropriate techniques and a little bit luck. I was just driving with a friend, and we accidentally ran into this scene. Luckily, I had my gear on me.

“At first I got into photographer because I just wanted to have something to show off.

“But the deeper I dig into this area, the more passionate I become about this thing. It has become a way for me to document my life experience and to share with my loved ones.”