Jäähyväiset, August!

closeup of eye of albino American alligator Alligator mississippiensis
Perhaps not as abstract as many, but I knew it had to show up this month solely from how surreal it looks. This is the albino American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) that lives at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, who was sleeping close to the glass when I was near – I have a video clip of the eye lazily opening, if you want to see it. The crowning touch is the algae in the crevices of its skin of course, but the pinks and lavender add to the whole effect as well. Yes, the eye is wide open, and yes, the pupil is so small right now that it barely registers – it wasn’t bright in there at all, but maybe albinism makes them more sensitive to light? Perhaps it’s really hungover? Don’t come to me for biological accuracy.

As always, kids nearby kept asking if it was real and/or alive, since it was moving just as much as gators do, which is not at all – they think continental drift is exhilarating (the gators, not the kids.) Naturally, the alligator made some small confirming movement as soon as the kids looked away in boredom, and stopped the moment they looked back, trolling expertly despite having a lizard brain. It knew, all right…

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