|By Charles Briton (1841-1884) (Design by Charles Briton via ) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons|
This creature is similar in habits and appearance to the crocodile. It is found only in America, and is most abundant in the tropical regions. The anecdotes which display its ferocity are numerous; but we choose one which exhibits it in a different character. Mr. Jesse had one which he made so perfectly tame, that it followed him about the house like a dog, scrambling up the stairs after him, and showing much affection and docility. Its great favorite, however, was a cat; and the friendship was mutual. When the cat was reposing herself before the fire, the alligator would lay himself down, place his head upon the cat, and in this attitude go to sleep. If the cat was absent, the alligator was restless; but he always appeared happy when puss was near him. The only instance in which he showed any ferocity was in attacking a fox, which was tied up in the yard. Probably, however, the fox had resented some playful advances which the other had made, and thus called forth the anger of the alligator. In attacking the fox, he did not make use of his mouth, but beat him with so much severity with his tail, that, had not the chain which confined the fox broken, he would probably have killed him. The alligator was fed on raw flesh, and sometimes with milk, for which he showed great fondness. In cold weather, he was shut up in a box, with wool in it; but having been forgotten one frosty night, he was found dead in the morning.
Poor fellow! This charming anecdote is found in: Goodrich, S. G. 1793-1860. (1849). Illustrative anecdotes of the animal kingdom. Boston: Rand and Mann.307-308.