Alligators - Blank Park Zoo

Bookmark and Share Alligators

Alligators

American Alligator
Alligator mississippiensis 

Class      
Reptile
  
Habitat 
Freshwater swamps and marshes, but also in rivers, lakes and small bodies of water.

Region 
Southeastern United States: Alabama, Arkansas, North & South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas

Size      
Males: 13-15 feet long Females: 8-9 feet long

Description  
Broad snout. Only top teeth will show when mouth is closed. Juveniles are essentially miniature versions of their parents, although they possess bright yellow cross-bands on a black background - disruptive camouflage.

Diet  
Carnivorous.  Wild: Juveniles: insects, and small fish and frogs Adults: fish, turtles, relatively small mammals, birds and reptiles including small alligators.  Zoo: Alligator pellet

Longevity  
35-50 years in the wild, 60-80 years in captivity

Reproduction     
20-50 eggs are laid in a nest and hatch about 65 days later. Babies stay near mother for 1-3 years and communicate danger by calling (chirping sound).

Predators 
Juveniles are regularly threatened by predators such as raccoons, large fish, birds and even other alligators. Adult gators only true predator is humans, they are hunted for their skin, for leather goods and meat.

Status 
Least concern (alligators have more recently (1979) been downgraded from IUCN listing, while CITES Appendix II classification remains to assist control in trade of other crocodilian species whose skins are similar in appearance).

Other Facts      
74-80 teeth in an alligator’s mouth. Alligators can hold their breath underwater for more than an hour. They can swim up to 20 miles per hour, and run on land as fast as 11 miles per hour for short distances if they need to. Have clear eyelid (nictitating membrane) that they close when they go underwater. Valves to close nose and ears when submerged. Gators keep growing all their lives. A gator’s tongue doesn't move—it's attached to the bottom of its mouth. Differentiate alligator by U shaped head and only top teeth show with mouth closed, crocodiles have a V shaped head and both top and bottom teeth show with mouth closed.
 
Watch a video about the Blank Park Zoo's baby Alligators.

 
Please click on the thumbnails below to view full size images.
View Image '"Baby Alligator"'
"Baby Alligator"
View Image '"Baby Alligators"'
"Baby Alligators"
View Image '"Baby Alligators"'
"Baby Alligators"
Copyright © 2014 Blank Park Zoo. All Rights Reserved.