American Alligator Description
The American Alligator has a very thick body and it has amazing strength. Even the tail has more strength behind it than the average adult man. The males are typically about 14 feet long with the females averaging about 10 feet. The largest one in history was just over 19 feet. Like all alligators they have very sharp teeth but this one holds the record for the strongest bite of any animal in the entire world.
There is a rare genetic mutation that can make certain American Alligators albino. They are missing a gene to create melanin. They do exist in the wild but they are extremely rare. Due to the fascination with them though they are commonly bred in captivity as an attraction at alligator farms.
American Alligator Distribution
You will only find the American Alligator in the Southern part of the United States. This includes Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Georgia. The largest number of them are in Florida with a population of around two million.
They do very well in the wetlands here. However, they also have a huge problem as they have to share these areas with humans. Their natural habitat continues to get smaller and smaller all the time. They generally stick to freshwater but can also do very well in the salt water.
American Alligator Behavior
They are very intelligent animals and will intently study their environment. They are able to quickly pick up the patterns of other animals that come into the area. They are slow on land but don’t underestimate them in the water. They can be aggressive but for the most part tend to only do so when they feel threatened.
American Alligator Diet and Feeding
The wet marsh areas where the American Alligator live offer plenty of food for the American Alligator. In fact, without them here areas of Florida and Louisiana would have huge problems to deal with. This is because of the abundance of rodents found in these areas. They make up the majority of the food source for this type of alligator.
They will also eat a variety of birds, snakes, and different mammals in the area. What they will eat depends on where they live and their particular size. When they are very large they will go for mammals including deer and cattle. They are also known to successfully take down a bear or a panther.
They swallow their food whole and use their sharp teeth to break it into chunks. They will consume sand and rocks too. These elements assist with the grinding down of the food that is in their stomach.
American Alligator Reproduction
Mating occurs in the spring as the temperatures start to increase. Roars and bellowing sounds can be heard from the males during this time. They strive to be able to attract the females with those sounds. At the same time, they are offering warnings to other males to stay away.
After mating the pair will go their own directions. The female will get busy creating a nest. It can take her several weeks to do this. She will use what she can find including rocks, sticks, and mud. She can lay from 20 to 50 eggs in this nest and then she will build on top of it. She does so to keep them warm and to prevent predators from finding them.
The young will be born about 65 days later. They will make the journey from egg to the water with their mother. She will care for them until they are about five months of age. A large number of these offspring will be eaten by various predators in the water before they are mature.
American Alligator Conservation
At this time there aren’t conservation efforts in place for the American Alligator. They are doing very well in their natural environment. There are efforts in place though to help prevent more of their habitat from being taken over by humans. Careful evaluations are done before building in many of these areas is permitted.