An alligator is a crocodilian in the genus Alligator of the family Alligatoridae. The two living species are the American alligator and the Chinese alligator. In addition, several extinct species of alligator are known from fossil remains.
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.
Clancy's comment: They sure have mean-looking teeth, eh? Mm ... Interesting fact above about incubation and the sex of a newborn.