LAKE CHARLES, La. – A new video getting thousands of views online is proving that even the scaliest, toothiest creatures can be adorable sometimes.
The not-at-all menacing footage shows a baby alligator practicing its death roll while gnawing on some garfish Sunday afternoon in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Dana McCuller said she saw her neighbor clean some fish and then throw the scraps in the water so she decided to standby to see what would come to feast on the meat.
It was only a few minutes before a squad of baby gators came by to claim their next meal.
“Once the first one grabbed a piece and started splashing, the others quickly came over to join,” McCuller said.
The most ambitious of the bunch latched its tiny jaw onto a piece of flesh and spun so fast it ended up propelling a few inches away.
Once the high-velocity maneuver was complete, it almost seems as if the fledgling reptile needed a few seconds to recover. Then, it continued munching on whatever was left clenched between its teeth.
Though McCuller is no stranger to gators, she was still tickled pink at the sight.
“I’ve seen their mom do it with turtles that she has caught, and I’m always in complete awe of how powerful she is. Seeing the babies do it was just incredibly adorable. I had to stop myself from giggling at how cute it was,” she said.
For those wondering, the mother gator was nearby watching her babies enjoy their treat. McCuller said she often spends time by the water watching the family, so the mother gator doesn’t seem to mind her.
“Their momma is very accustomed to me being out there to take pictures, so to her I’m just part of the scenery, and that has allowed me to closely watch these baby grow, while still making sure to keep a safe distance,” McCuller said.
She named the mother Cheesecake but since the 17 babies are so hard to tell apart, she just calls them the “cheese sticks" after a suggestion from a friend.
Between McCuller’s Facebook post and one from the Everglades Holiday Park, the 19-second video has been viewed about three million times.
Some commenters were quick to chime in that although the death roll is amusing now, it won’t be as sweet when the baby grows up.
“It ain’t gonna be cute when he’s older,” one man quipped.
Others offered encouragement to the apex predator in the making.
“Awe, good job little one,” a woman wrote. “Keep strengthening those skills. It’s a big world out there.”
Of course, there were jokes to be had, too.
“That’s how I look when I take a bite of my husband’s food,” one comment read.
According to Scientific American, the death roll technique is seen in nearly every crocodilian species and involves the cold-blooded creature spinning on its axis to dismember its prey.