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ALLIGATORS

American Alligators

The American Alligator is a rare example of an animal in danger of extinction which has been saved and now they are growing in numbers. This very important result has been obtained thanks to public support, to the habitat conservation and to the reduction in demand for commercial use.

These amazing predators with their armored bodies, their muscular tails and their powerful jaws have very antiques origins. They evolved more then 150 millions ago and 65 millions ago they have managed to avoid extinction unlike the dinosaurs.

American alligators live in freshwater environments, such as ponds, marshes, wetlands, rivers, lakes, and swamps, as well as in brackish environments.

American alligators are found in the southeast United States: all of Florida and Louisiana, the southern parts of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, coastal South and North Carolina, East Texas, the southeast corner of Oklahoma, and the southern tip of Arkansas.

These reptiles, with awkward movements outside the water, are excellent swimmers. A large adult American alligator's weight and length is 360 kg and 4.0 m, but they can grow to 4.4 m long and weigh over 450 kg . Females can grow maximum up to 3 m.

The babies alligator’s length is between 15 to 20 cm and are in yellow and black stripes. They remain with their mother for 2 years as they are preys of many animals such as birds, raccoons, bobcats and other alligators.

The type of food eaten by alligators depends upon their age and size. When young, alligators eat fish, insects, snails, crustaceans, and worms. As they mature, progressively larger prey is taken, including larger fish such as gar, turtles, and various mammals, particularly nutria and muskrat, as well as birds, deer, and other reptiles.

Alligators are often confused with crocodiles; in fact they look a lot alike. The major difference is in the muzzle as the crocodile’s one is long narrow while the alligator’s is short and flattened.