American Alligator

Alligator mississippiensis
Alligators are an endangered species success story. On the verge of extinction in the 1960's due to over-hunting and habitat loss, the gator once again claims its title of top predator of the southern wetlands thanks to the Endangered Species Act. Alligators are frequently seen basking on banks or logs in colder months, but during the hottest weather they prefer to be in the water. Baby gators often become prey for wading birds, large fish, and Florida softshell turtles. By the time they are four feet long, the tables are turned and they are now the predator of these same species. Although they are nocturnal hunters, they will devour whatever comes their way. For that reason we do not allow swimming in Banks Lake! Keep at least 20 feet from a gator and don’t tease it with fishing bait.

Facts About American Alligator

Alligators and other crocodilians are the only reptiles where the female cares for both the eggs (in a nest of vegetation) and the young (for up to two years after hatching.)

Alligators use their sharp teeth not for chewing, but for holding and tearing. Many turtles bear scars of their narrow escapes from the jaws of a gator.