American Alligators are found in the Southeast United States, with the highest numbers in Florida and Louisiana. They are usually found in wetland areas with fresh water, but have been known to venture into brackish water. Alligators play an important role in the marshes by creating “gator holes” large enough to wallow in. These gator holes retain water through dry season which is vital to nearby fish, birds, amphibians and many other animals. While areas like the Everglades are perfect habitats for alligators, it is not uncommon to see them sunning themselves along the banks of neighborhood retention ponds, especially in the winter months when the water is cooler. In fact, this year I noticed that there is a new alligator taking up residence in the retention pond in my own neighborhood! This alligator was photographed at the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.