Carlisle and the Butterflies
Carlisle lived on the edge of a river and loved to lay in the cool mud watching for food.
He is a Spectacled Caiman and like all alligators, Carlisle snap-snap-snapped up any meal that wandered by. There’s a lot to eat in the Amazon, if you’re a Caiman and this Caiman was always hungry.
But when Carlisle hissed and snapped his pointy white teeth at tasty morsels, his eyes swam with tears and his vision blurred. Many times he jumped at a log instead of the silvery fish that had just been there. Carlisle was pretty hungry.
One sunny afternoon a big butterfly and her friends fluttered around Carlisle’s head. When they saw the shiny pools of water around his eyes, the butterflies sip-sip-sipped. Suddenly Carlisle could see clearly, and just then he caught sight of lunch. Fluttery butterflies became Carlisle’s spectacles and thirsty butterflies loved him.
(Author’s Note: Butterflies and bees really do drink the tears of Caimans! The vibration of alligators' sinuses when they snap their jaws and hiss causes their eyes to water a lot. Butterflies and bees need salt and minerals to live, and alligator tears are much closer than the ocean that is far far away from the Amazon. If you ever taste your own tears, they will taste a little bit salty. It is called “symbiosis” when creatures help each other naturally.)