597.984: Ouchley, Kelby. American Alligator: Ancient Predator in the Modern World. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2013. 108 pp. ISBN 978-0-8130-4913-7.
- 500: Science
- 590: Zoology
- 597: Cold-blooded vertebrates
- 597.9: Reptilia
- 597.98: Crocodilia
- 597.984: Alligatoridae
Kelby Ouchley’s American Alligator covers the evolution, biology, habitat, and behavior of the American alligator. Alligator mississippiensis, as it is known to the scientific crowd, lives in the southeastern coastal states (although it can get as far north as Arkansas) and hold an important place in the natural food chain. While human hunters have sought to reduce their numbers, there are approximately 4-5 million alligators in the United States. Ouchley walks the reader through the natural history and interesting science behind this misunderstood reptile. American alligators—much like actual Americans—have an incredibly diverse diet, feeding on animals as small as whirligig beetles and apple snails and as large as farm cattle and deer. The first part is devoted to the science of the alligator and the second part concerns human interaction, including folklore, hunting laws, and painful encounters. This book reads like a decent National Geographic special or a Discover Channel show (without all the needless sensationalism, though). If you’re a budding zoologist or even have a passing interest in reptiles or biodiversity, this is a nice quick book to wet your beak on.