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In the Everglades, birds nest near alligators for safety. But what's in it for the gators?

In the Everglades, birds nest near alligators for safety. But what's in it for the gators?

Birds choose the safest trees to build their nests. In the Florida Everglades, that means living directly above alligator-infested water.

If that sounds like a perilous choice, consider this: Egrets, heron and other long-legged wading birds of the Florida swamps have more reasons to fear raccoons and possums, who invade nests and eat the birds’ eggs.

That’s where the gators come in.

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The presence of the fearsome reptiles scares away nest-raiding mammals. Without that deterrent, the birds would have no other defense against the...

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