American Alligator

In case you didn't already know, a chicken and an alligator both hatch from eggs. It seems unlikely that two such visibly different animals would both come from eggs, but there you have it, it's true. About every 2 years a female alligator lays up to 25 eggs. The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) grows about 1 foot per year for the first 4-6 years. Then a gator's growth slows down and stops at about 20 years old. They can live up to 50 years. A typical male alligator has the potential of growing up to a length of 15 feet, and about 500 lbs. But most gators stay in the 6 foot range. Northeastern North Carolina is about the northernmost region where alligators live and breed. Environmental temperature has an effect on the growth rate and overall size of an alligator. The pictured 6 footer was photographed on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.

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