"Allie," calls my mom. "Come here, I've something important to tell."
I get all excited and ran up to her. I am almost a year old. My mother says that she laid 62 eggs along with mine when she laid her eggs. She only used to lay about 30 eggs normally and she says she was so happy when she laid so many. She hoped many of the eggs will hatch. But only 11 eggs hatched to be baby alligators. Many of the rest got eaten by predators and my mother could not always defend us. Out of the 11 eggs that hatched 10 hatched by late August. She did not think I will hatch out of the egg, but she continued to protect me from predators hoping that I will hatch out of the egg. I was the last one to hatch, the 11 th one. But I hatched one day in early September. I was the smallest alligator she had. I had too much trouble getting out of the egg and she said she had to help me out of the shell and out of the nest. My mother taught us how to use the tail for swimming, nest-building, what to do when we have to lay eggs, how to stay under water, and how to avoid predators.
"Allie, listen baby, now you are one year old and it's time for you to start off on your own. I have taught you everything you need to know to take care of yourself. It's time for me to let you go and make a home and life for yourself. I love you."
She turned and started walking away. It was cold and rainy and suddenly I started feeling very sad and lonely. I was frozen, I could not move. When I realized that I was alone, I started looking for my mother everywhere. I could not find her anywhere. Where could she have gone so quickly? Suddenly I felt an arrow rub past me. I looked up and saw a hunter, he was trying to shoot at me but he had missed. I quickly went into the water and avoided him. There I bumped into another alligator who said her mother had left her too. We became friends, but even today I keep looking for my mother.
~ Anthony, Age 13, USA ~