An American alligator suns in the shallow, tannin-rich waters of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. An adult alligator can reach 8-12 feet in length and weigh 400 to 500 pounds. The primitive reptile was nearly hunted to extinction for sport and for its leathery hide, which is used for shoes and purses. Established in 1937, the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge protects the waters, wilderness and wildlife of the 438,000 acre Okefenokee Swamp. The red hue of the water which when reflective looks like black coffee, is caused by the acid released from decaying vegetation.