National Geographic : 1967 Jan
Squaring off with a snapping, tail-lashing nine-and-a-half-footer, Lt. Tom Shirley of the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission exploits its only weakness-the jaws. Despite a bite that can smash cow bones like kindling, an alligator's jaws, once closed, can be held together by a man with relative ease (opposite and pages 146-7). Lieutenant Shirley will force the mouth of this one shut by prying up its lower jaw with a pole. Each summer he zips in his airboat over a saw-grass sea near Lake Okeechobee, marking gators for conservation studies.