Alligators are amongst the most attentive parents in the reptile world, remaining with their young for as long as three years.
Amazing Facts About the Alligator
- There are two living species of alligator in the world: the American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) and the Chinese Alligator (Alligator sinensis).
- The alligator is often described as “a living fossil” given that it has evolved little over the past 65 million years.
- Female alligators construct nests made of vegetation and mud. They can lay over 50 eggs in a single season. They are amongst the most attentive parents in the reptile world, tending to remain with their young, caring for them for as long as three years.
- The sex of a newborn alligator is determined by the temperature of the nest. Incubation temperatures of 30 Celsius or below will produce females, whereas 34 Celsius or above will produce males.
- Although often confused with crocodiles, alligators can be distinguished from crocodiles by their broad u-shaped snouts; comparing them with crocodiles’ v-shaped snouts.
- Alligators can have up to 80 teeth at any given time. New teeth grow to replace worn ones and throughout a lifetime an alligator can have between 2,000 and 3,000 teeth.
- Alligators are opportunistic feeders who ambush their prey rather than chase them. They can reach 30 miles per hour in a short burst, however cannot maintain a high speed.
- The alligator became the official state reptile of Florida in 1987.
- In North American shamanism, alligators are symbols of adaptability and survival.
- Although seriously endangered in the 1950’s the American Alligator’s numbers have grown since they came under legal protection. Being killed for their skins was the major issue.
- Type: Reptile
- Diet: Carnivore
- Life span: 35-50 years
- Size: 8.2 (female) -11.2 (male) feet in length for American alligator (Chinese species is smaller)
- Weight: 380 (female) – 440 (male) kg for American alligator (Chinese species is lighter)
- Habitat: Freshwater lakes, marshes, and swamps
- Range: North America and East Asia