Americana: Poor Vision

Tourists visiting the St. Augustine Alligator Farm in Florida sometimes discover not only Alligator mississippiensis in the swim. A Homo sapiens named Kent Vliet, 26, may have waded in too. With a cypress pole in hand, the University of Florida doctoral candidate in zoology usually takes the plunge in the late afternoons during the mating season. "In the morning they're a little crotchety and don't want to be bothered," he says.

On the whole, the 150 gators in the farm's breeder lake rarely seem to mind his intrusion; and after three years of cataloguing by computer some 800 courtship sequences and isolating...

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