Eerie Picture Shows Dozens of Alligators With Glowing Eyes in Florida Swamp

An eerie photograph showing dozens of alligators lurking in a Florida swamp with their eyes glowing in the dark has been captured by a wildlife photographer.

Bobby Wummer told Newsweek that he drove down to a swamp in the Big Cypress National Preserve, in Southern Florida, to capture the picture.

"I drove out there especially to get this effect with the gator's eyes glowing using my high-powered flash on my Canon camera with a wide angle lens because it was so many gators in the hole," he said. "When I got there they were grunting, bellowing, splashing around on top of each other and some work trying to catch fish. I was high up on a berm and the alligator hole was down on an angle."

The result is the eerie photograph, which Wummer posted to his Instagram account. Wummer said in a caption to the photo that there were so many in the lake, he was not able to get all of the reptiles in one shot.

"We definitely have a few alligators here in South Florida," he said in the Instagram post.

Alligator eyes glow in this way as they have a reflector system in the back of their eyes.

This means their eyes reflect light back into their photorector cells, so they can see better in the darkness and in murky waters. While it makes for an spooky sight, it means the predators are easily spotted at nighttime.

Alligator eyes glowing
Bobby Wummer's photo shows dozens of alligators lurking in the swamp with their eyes glowing. Bobby Wummer

There are about 1.3 million alligators in Florida. They prefer slow-moving, freshwater rivers, swamps, marshes and lakes. They can be found in all of Florida's counties, and most wild areas.

The Big Cypress National Preserve neighbors the Everglades. In both areas, the alligators are vital to the wetland ecosystem. Nesting female alligators, for example, are key to the creation of peat in the area.

Wummer often captures shots of Florida's native alligators. His most recent post was a video of an alligator, also in the Big Cypress Swamp, snapping down on his GoPro camera, as he tried to get a close-up shot.

Although Wummer was out of harm's way, as the camera was on a 12-foot extension pole, the video captures several shots of the alligator's huge jaws.

"As you can see I did get an extreme close up inside the gator's mouth. This was not done intentionally, I didn't think he would actually lunge up and bite down on the cam. I was lucky and didn't play tug of war which would have probably been the end of camera," he said in an Instagram caption.

Eventually, the alligator realized the camera "was not food" and released it.