A small American alligator lifts its head out of the water at Brazos Bend State Park in Texas. Alligators are considered an apex predator and as such are important to the health of wetlands in the southern United States. Thought to be on the verge of extinction in the mid-20th century, the alligator has fully recovered and is no longer considered an endangered species. Trade in skins is still regulated, and it is illegal (and foolish) to feed them in most states.

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