Gator love? Photographer captures alligators ‘hugging’ in Florida nature preserve

Once a gator, always a gator.

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A wildlife photographer captured a photograph of two young alligators appearing rather chummy at a Florida nature preserve.

Michelle Siefken posted the photo on her Instagram account in late July, the Miami Herald reported. The two reptiles were lying side by side at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park near Micanopy, about 12 miles south of the University of Florida, whose mascot is -- you guessed it -- the Gators.

One alligator had its leg draped over the back of the other one in an apparent show of friendship.

“Need a hug?” Siefken captioned her photograph.

“I was so taken by the two young gators ‘hugging’ when I spotted them,” Siefken told the Herald in an email. “It’s likely they are siblings and have probably been together since birth.

“I have seen and photographed many alligators, but never before have I captured this sweet and simple connection between two little ones,” she wrote. “When I move beyond the scientific explanation, I smile thinking about the possibility of something more.”

In addition to alligators, Paynes Prairie is home to nearly 300 species of birds, according to the preserve’s website. Deer, bison and wild horses are also frequent visitors, according to the website.

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