American Alligator

ANIMAL:
American Alligator Alligator mississippiensis

Type of Animal:
Crocodilian

Habitat:
Swamps, rivers, marshes, lakes, wetlands, ponds, estuaries, coastal areas, streams, rural areas, urban/suburban areas

Location(s):
Southeast U.S.A

Appearance:
Blackish-grayish scales w/ broad head & snout, males head & body heavier & more conspicuous, females skinnier/smaller than males, long tail on both sexes, yellowish underbelly.

Food/Diet:
Fish (including sharks), turtles, snakes including venomous & large species, carrion, rodents, snails, birds, amphibians, rabbits, cats, dogs, coyotes, red wolves, foxes, raccoons, otters, deer, worms, spiders, young alligators, lizards, armadillos, pigs, sheep, goats, cattle, panthers, bobcats, small bears, insects, insect larvae, mollusks, crayfish, shrimp, crabs

Status in Wild:
Stable

Conservation:
Breeding on farms, zoos, aquariums, & wildlife parks. Farmed for meat & skin.

Lifestyle:
Usually found in groups led by dominant male. Many large adults solitary. Nesting females often found alone. Babies & juveniles typically found in groups.

Additional Info:

Called:
Male-Bull
Female-Cow
Young-Hatchling
Group-Pod

Weight:
Male-500-800 lbs
Female-200 lbs
Young-0.125-5 lbs

Gestation:
2 months

Body Length:
Male-10-13 ft
Female-6-9 ft
Young-0.67-2 ft

Life Span: 
50-70 years

Tail Length:
Male-5-6.5 ft
Female-3-4.5 ft
Young-4.02-12 in

Only predators of adults are bears, panthers, invasive pythons, & bull sharks. However, invasive pythons often eaten by gators & other 3 sometimes eaten by large gators as well. Young, on the other hand, eaten by bobcats, domestic cats, raccoons, foxes, otters, raptors, storks, herons, snakes, snapping turtles, softshell turtles, older gators, crabs, & predatory fish (especially sharks & largemouth bass).

Gators reach sexual maturity at 10 years old.

Females lays 10-50 eggs each year & hatchlings stay w/ mom for up to 3 years. This means mom might have 30-150 babies with her.

Used to be at risk but now there’s more than 1 million gators in wild.

Fun Fact(s):
NEVER FEED/APPROACH A WILD GATOR- IF THEY GET USED TO BEING FED BY HUMANS, THEY BECOME EXTREMELY DANGEROUS & ALMOST ALWAYS HAVE TO BE PUT DOWN BY ANIMAL CONTROL. IN FACT, IT’S ILLEGAL TO FEED GATORS. DON’T SWIM IN BODIES OF WATER KNOWN TO CONTAIN GATORS. IN FACT, GOLFERS CAN’T GET GOLF BALLS OUT OF PONDS CONTAINING GATORS. HOWEVER, IF LEFT ALONE, THEY CAN BE EXCEEDINGLY DOCILE.

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