Owen Lauer was recording as the three-legged gator was seen helping her hatchlings at the Circle B Bar Reserve, a popular spot for alligator sightings. The video shows the large reptile limping towards her nest and scooping out one of her babies in her mouth before waddling away with it.
This gator mom only has three legs and is seen peering in the direction of the camera at Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, Fla. (Credit: Owen Lauer via Storyful)
Lauer said the alligator was carrying each of her hatchlings to the water’s edge. According to National Geographic, for these reptile mothers, it's not uncommon for them to place their young ones in their mouths and transport them to another location. Their instincts tell them not to shut their jaw completely.
It's been documented on video before. Earlier this month in Oklahoma, an 8-foot alligator – with all of its legs – worked hard to dig out 22 of her hatchlings and moved them one by one to a nearby body of water. She also used her mouth to carry them, and it took a total of 13 hours.
Alligators are very maternal creatures, guarding eggs and protecting young for several months. This three-legged mom in Lakeland was no different.
A hatchling is being carried inside a gator's mouth at the Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, Fla. (Credit: Owen Lauer via Storyful)
Lauer said he hopes his video "can help encourage people to see a different side of the often misunderstood alligator."