Are Florida Gators Turning Orange?

--Chad Love

Is it an evolutionary mystery? Is there something in the water? Or is there a seriously devoted Florida Gators fan out there?

From this story in the Christian Science Monitor:
A one-of-a-kind orange alligator was spotted in Venice, Florida, Wednesday, prompting some to speculate that after remaining unchanged for 200 million years, the large reptiles are now taking a new evolutionary direction. But probably not. After examining a photo of the vibrant crocodilian taken by resident Sylvia Mythen, wildlife experts reported its color probably isn't genetic.

WWSB-TV reporter Fallon Silcox quotes Florida Fish and Wildlife official Gary Morse: "The official opinion from our alligator experts is that this is alligator is not naturally orange. We believe it's orange from paint, stain, iron oxide or some other element in the environment that has left a coating on the animal, making it appear orange."

Why let the truth get in the way of a good story? It's obviously an evolutionary adaptation designed to throw off hunters, right?