Awesome American Alligator

Posted in Wildlife A-Z | April 28, 2010 | Comment Now

The American alligator is a rare story of success for an endangered animal to be saved from extinction. The numbers of the American alligator continue to thrive. The population has improved due to federal protection and habitat conservation efforts. The demand for alligator products has also reduced. The population is presently in excess of one million.

These menacing predators have lizard-like bodies, muscular tails, and powerful jaws. They appear well armored. Research has put the alligator species at around 150 million years old. Their prehistoric partners included dinosaurs. They managed to avoid extinction some 65 million years ago.

American alligator inhabit freshwater rivers, lakes, swamps, and marshes. They are found in large numbers in southeastern United States, particularly Florida and Louisiana.

These creatures are heavy and ungainly out of water. They are extremely well-adapted swimmers. The average length of male alligators is between 10 and 15 feet. They can weigh up to 1000 pounds. Female alligators, on the other hand, grow to a maximum of 9.8 feet.

Young hatchlings are approximately six to eight inches long. They are covered with yellow and black stripes. Baby alligators are wonderful prey for birds, raccoons, bobcats, and sometimes other grown-up alligators. They reside with their mothers for nearly two years.

Grown-up alligators are master predators and are critical to the biodiversity of their particular habitat. Alligators feed mainly on fish, turtles, snakes, and small mammals. Adult alligators are known to be opportunists. A hungry alligator is capable of eating anything that it lays hands upon, including carrion, pets, and in rare circumstances humans.

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