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Alligator

Alligator mississippiensis

Scientists have determined that alligators have existed for about 150 million years, surviving beyond dinosaurs and flying reptiles.

Alligator holes are usually among the deepest places in the wetlands after other areas have dried up.

Baby alligators may stay with their mother for a few days to a month, after hatching one may see young alligators basking in the sun on their mother's back

A distressed cry from a young alligator could get the attention of a female or even a male.

The location of the nest and even the location of the eggs determine the sex of the baby alligators. Shaded areas are more likely to produce females; warmer nests heavily favor males.

Alligators can hear underwater.

Large amounts of strong acids are secreted to aid the digestion of bones from their prey and an occasional rock that was swallowed by mistake.

To estimate an alligator's length, convert the distance in inches from the tip of the nose to the eye ridge into feet.

Alligators have little strength in opening their jaws and with one hand their jaw can be held closed.

Female alligators construct elaborate nests of compacted vegetation with their mouths to incubate their eggs, and approximately 20-50 eggs are laid. Female gators are very protective of the nests and usually stay near by to ward off predators.

An alligator has eighty teeth.

The mating process of alligators consist of three phases. The first phase is characterized by the opposite sex bellowing and head slapping. The second phase is pair formation, in which the male and female touch snouts. The third phase in the mating process is copulation that can last 15 minutes and is repeated over several days.

The life expectancy of a gator, if it lives past 2 years, is 50 years.

State law prohibits the feeding of alligators and for good reason. Alligators fed by people overcome their natural shyness and are more likely to attack.

Don't let pets swim in waters occupied by alligators and keep pets on leash at all times. Dogs and cats are similar in size to the natural prey of alligators. 

Don't approach or tease alligators, even on land they are quite agile.

State law prohibits killing, harassing or possessing alligators. Handling even small alligators can result in injury. 

Facts About Alligator

Only 1/8 pound and 9 1/2" long at birth, an alligator grows about 8-10 inches a year to an average of 6-12 feet.

The unofficial Florida record is 17'5" (Lake Apopka 1956).

The world record is 19'2" (Louisiana).

Ponds, swamps, rivers, freshwater and brakish marshes, mangroves, canals.

Sometimes will enter salt water.

Page Photo Credits — ©Gayla Kittendorf
Last Updated: Nov 08, 2013
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