Later Alligator!

Sorry to say, this highly anticipated spring has been something of a downer thus far. Stepping off the plane from Tokyo, the blast of cold air that greeted me came as quite a shock, as I had thought that New England was experiencing very similar weather during my absence. Sure, 60 – 70 degrees over in Tokyo is nothing to write home about, but compared to the 30 – 40 degree rains over here, it seems like a tropical paradise! Periodically raining, shining, and then raining again, the rivers have swollen to impressive proportions, fed by brief but massive downpours. Wanting to capture some of the rapidly moving water passing through a nearby stream, I wandered down into town a bit, camera in tow, snapping pictures every few feet. Although I had fully expected to find some interesting and photogenic sights along the river bank, I nearly dropped my camera in the water when I saw a pair of eyes staring back that seemed to find me just as interesting a subject!

From the distance between us, I couldn’t be entirely sure of the accuracy of my vision; Certainly a baby alligator would never turn up in such a remote area, especially without a parent in sight! And yet as I moved closer for a better look, I could hardly question my first assessment. Still small and cute, he bore no resemblance to the fearsome killers I had seen tearing other animals and even humans to shreds on tv, so I quickly dropped my guard and forgot my fears. Still being cautious to look for his guardians, I snapped numerous pictures of this incredible find – Who would have believed otherwise?

Slyly grinning from his perch on a sunny rock, he appeared quite content and self-assured, especially for a young tyke of his age. Perhaps he knew he had quite a reputation in these parts, where the most fearsome wild animals we have are probably tame enough to be considered as pets. Although it was clear that he posed no real danger, I still didn’t want to stick around for too long, in case some enraged mother with teeth of steel showed up, wondering what a vegan might taste like. After reviewing the display on my camera that proved my eyes did not deceive me, I headed for home, excited to show this peculiar critter to anyone who crossed my path.

Cute as he was, I just hope that he doesn’t plan to spend too long in the area… Though small and adorable now, just give him some time to hit a growth spurt and become a true terror. Paired with that confident attitude, I don’t think that any inhabitants of that stream would have a fighting chance! If you’d like to tempt fate and try raising your own baby alligator nonetheless, I wouldn’t ever want to dissuade anyone passionate enough, so here’s the pattern!

Upper Jaw

With green worsted weight yarn and a size F hook, ch4, sc into second stitch from hook, sc 2, sc2 more into last stitch, sc1 into the back of each stitch, sc 2 more into last stitch. (10)
Continuing around in the same direction, sc3, sc2 into next two stitches each, sc3, sc2 into each of the next two stitches. (14)
Sc5, sc2 into next stitch, sc6, sc 2 into next stitch, sc1 (16)
Sc around for 9 rounds
Break yarn and secure.

Lower Jaw

Ch3, sc into second st from hook, sc 4 into next stitch (moving around to the back), sc3 into back of last stitch. (8)
Continuing in a circle, sc2, sc2 into each of the next two sts, sc2, sc2 into each of the next 2 sts. (12)
Sc4, sc2 into next st, sc5, sc2 into next st, sc1. (14)
Sc around for 9 rounds
Do not break yarn.

Body

Lining up the upper jaw next to your current work, sc into first 8 sts of upper jaw, sc into outer 7 st of lower jaw, leaving the inner sts of each piece unworked. (15)
Continuing around the outside, Sc2 into each of the next 2 sts, sc4, sc 2 into each of the next 3 sts, sc5, sc2 into next st (21)
Sc around for 11 rounds
Sc1, sc2 tog* around (14)
Sc5, sc2 tog* twice (12)
Sc around for 7 rounds
Sc2 tog around (6)
Sc2 tog around (3)

Tongue

With red yarn, ch4, sc2 into second st from hook, sc1, sc2 into final st (5)
Ch1, sc2 into second st from hook, sc3, sc2 into final st (7)
Ch1, sc across for 10 rows

Eyes [Make 2]

With white yarn, sc5 into a circle
Sc2 into each st (10)
Sc around
Sc2 tog (5)

Legs [Make 4]

Sc4 into a circle
Sc2 into each st (8)
Sc around for 4 rounds

To Assemble: Through opening between jaws, firmly stuff body. Lightly stuff jaws. Sew tongue to lower jaw along raw back edges. Sew the opening in back with a length of green yarn. Cut triangles out of white felt for the teeth and glue into desired positions. Stuff the eyes, gather together the open end and secure, and attach to top of the head. Glue on half-round beads, buttons, or circles of black felt for the pupils. Stuff all legs and sew onto the body as indicated by the pictures.

Take care of your new baby, but keep an eye on any other small pets when your gator is loose!