From Xplor for Kids
April 2011 Issue

Wild Jobs: Alligator Gar Wrangler Chris Kennedy

Publish Date

Apr 01, 2011

Chris Kennedy is part fisherman, part explorer and part dinosaur hunter. lately he’s been on the lookout for a living legend — alligator gar.

Chris is smitten with his odd-looking finned friend. “They’re just so cool! There’s no other fish like it,” Chris says. “People see those needle-sharp teeth, but alligator gar are not mean like people think. They’re more like a lazy teddy bear.”

Alligator gar have been around since the days of the dinosaurs. They are one of the largest fishes in North America and can reach more than 5 feet in length and weigh upwards of 200 pounds. Some live to be 100 years old. “But we still don’t know much about these secretive fish,” Chris says.

Part of Chris’ job as a fisheries biologist is to learn more about alligator gar so he can help preserve their habitat. But Chris knows there’s more to it than just saving an odd-looking fish.

“Restoring a healthy river system helps us all,” Chris says. “The more wetlands and floodplains we have, the cleaner the water will be. That helps the fish and us.”

Also in this issue

Photos With Nop and Dave: Reeling in a Rainbow

Last fall, Dave was photographing fly fishermen on the North Fork of the White River. The rainbow trout were putting up a fight.

You Discover

Nature wakes up in April and May. Birds sing, mushrooms pop from the ground, and fish get hungry enough to take your bait. With so much going on, sometimes it’s hard to decide what's for you to discover.

My Outdoor Adventure

On a muggy May evening, Rachel tied a pink plastic frog to her fishing line. The moment the lure hit water, a huge bass lunged for it.

Nature's Recyclers

In an Ozark forest, a pile of dead leaves no bigger than this magazine is home to nearly 6,000 tiny creatures.

Turkey Hunting School

Donʼt worry kids. This school is COOL!

Xplor More: Make Hummingbird Nectar

When it comes to food, hummingbirds definitely have a sweet beak.

This Issue's Staff:

David Besenger
Bonnie Chasteen
Chris Cloyd
Peg Craft
Brett Dufur
Les Fortenberry
Chris Haefke
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Kevin Lanahan
Kevin Muenks
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
Tim Smith
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White
Kipp Woods

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