National Geographic : 1994 Apr
After tongue-testing one of her eggs and feeling no movement inside, a female alligator knows it's infertile-so she eats it (above). Ifshe senses something stirring, though, she gently cracks the shell open, then tilts her head forward to let her baby emerge (below). With their stomachs still heavy with egg yolk, newborn alligators aren't strong swimmers and, lacking agility, are vulnerable to predators. So when ven turing into water, they often hitch a ride with mother, who can keep a close eye.