An average adult American alligator's weight and length is 360 kg (790 lb) and 4.0 m (13.1 ft), but they sometimes grow to 4.4 m (14 ft) long and weigh over 450 kg (990 lb).[3] The largest ever recorded, found in Louisiana, measured 5.84 m (19.2 ft).[4] The Chinese alligator is smaller, rarely exceeding 2.1 m (6.9 ft) in length. In addition, it weighs considerably less, with males rarely over 45 kg (99 lb).

Adults: Cannibalism, intraspecific fighting, and hunting by humans are probably the most significant mortality factors.

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.

reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.

humans benefit economically by promoting tourism that focuses on the appreciation of natural areas or animals. Ecotourism implies that there are existing programs that profit from the appreciation of natural areas or animals.

Alligator management programs implemented by FWC emphasize the conservation of alligator populations for their ecological, aesthetic, and economic values while providing for public use and safety.

Alligators are large reptiles, members of the order Crocodylia. Alligators and crocodiles are, therefore, closely related, and people often confuse one with the other; however, these two reptiles are very different. 

the nearshore aquatic habitats near a coast, or shoreline.

The American alligator is found in the United States from North Carolina to the Rio Grande in Texas. Alligators are usually found in freshwater, slow-moving rivers. They also live in swamps, marshes and lakes. They can only tolerate salt water for brief periods because they do not have salt glands.

Come eye-to-eye with the king cobra, the longest venomous snake in the world. Learn why it is the reptile of choice for exotic snake charmers.

that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).

The alligator's rough skin makes it look like a floating log, which is helpful when stalking prey. 

Female alligators usually remain in a small area. Males can occupy areas greater than two square miles. Both males and females extend their ranges during the breeding season. Young alligators remain in the area where they are hatched and where their mother protects them. After two to three years, they leave that area in search of food or when driven out by larger alligators.

Alligators are carnivorous. They have very strong jaws that can crack a turtle shell. They eat fish, snails and other invertebrates, birds, frogs and mammals that come to the water's edge. They use their sharp teeth to seize and hold prey. They swallow small prey whole. If the prey is large, they shake it apart into smaller, manageable pieces. If it is very large, they will bite it, then spin on the long axis of their bodies to tear off easily swallowed pieces.

Friends of the National Zoo's hoppiest holiday event, BrewLights, a ticketed microbrew and craft beer event, will take place during ZooLights, powered by Pepco.

As the eggs incubate in the nest, the female will watch over them. In September, when the babies are ready to hatch, she will help them by removing debris covering the nest and. She may also help the babies by breaking the shells with her mouth.

The taxonomy of alligators, according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), is: 

animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature

An alligator is distinguished by its wide, rounded snout and black color. Also, all of its upper teeth can still be seen when its mouth is closed. Crocodiles, on the other hand, have narrow, pointed snouts, a grey-green color and only the fourth tooth on the lower jaw can be seen when the animal's mouth is closed, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

However, large alligators are known to go after larger prey, including birds such as ducks and herons, or small mammals, particularly raccoons, which often forage by the water's edge. Other large alligators even hunt deer that come too close to the water, Ross said. The predators may also target pets, such as dogs.

A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.

But, overall, he advised that people in Florida and other states with 'gators "stay out of the water in the summer months, and particularly in the darker hours, from dusk to dawn."

Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute 3001 Connecticut Ave., NW Washington, DC 20008

During yesterday's incident, the boy's father tried to fight the alligator, and the mother also waded in to try to find her son, according to CNN. A dive team found the toddler's body today (June 15), Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said at a news conference, according to CNN.

living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.

A Nebraska family staying at a Disney resort in Florida was struck by tragedy yesterday (June 14) when an alligator snatched the family's 2-year-old son and dragged him underwater, news sources reported. But despite the horrific incident, experts say it's rare for alligators to attack people.

Most of the muscle in an alligator's jaw evolved to bite and grip prey. The muscles that close the jaws are exceptionally powerful, but the muscles for opening their jaws are comparatively weak. As a result, an adult human can hold an alligator's jaws shut bare-handed. It is common today to use several wraps of duct tape to prevent an adult alligator from opening its jaws when being handled or transported.[23]

Alligator meat is also consumed by humans.[38][39] The Archbishop of New Orleans ruled in 2010 that for purposes of Catholic church discipline in relation to abstention from meat, the flesh of the alligator is characterised as fish.[40]

having the capacity to move from one place to another.

Alligators are stealthy, ambush predators. They often sit quietly in the water, staying still with little more than their eyes and nostrils above the surface, Ross said. A sensor on an alligator's chin detects vibrations in the water, including those from fish, Ross said.

Since alligators can become large and will feed on almost anything, they pose a mild threat to humans. In Florida, where there is the greatest alligator population, there have been several reported deaths due to alligator attacks in recent years and human-alligator conflicts are common. Dogs and other pets are also sometimes killed.

Large male alligators are solitary territorial animals. Smaller alligators can often be found in large numbers close to each other. The largest of the species (both males and females) defend prime territory; smaller alligators have a higher tolerance for other alligators within a similar size class.


Though many people are afraid of alligators, these animals keep to themselves and usually don't attack humans unless they are threatened.

As soon as they are born, the babies, called hatchlings, can go and catch their own food. Chinese hatchlings weigh only around 1.05 ounces (30 grams) and are around 8.3 inches (21 centimeters) long, according to the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. American hatchlings are around 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) long. After around two years, they leave their mother's protection to start their own families. 

The Chinese alligator currently is found only in the Yangtze River valley and parts of adjacent provinces[10] and is extremely endangered, with only a few dozen believed to be left in the wild. Indeed, far more Chinese alligators live in zoos around the world than can be found in the wild. Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in southern Louisiana has several in captivity in an attempt to preserve the species. Miami MetroZoo in Florida also has a breeding pair of Chinese alligators.

Both males and females reach sexual maturity when they are about 6 feet (1.8 meters) long, a length attained at about 10 to 12 years. Breeding takes place during the night in shallow waters. Males (bulls) roar to attract females and to ward off other males. The male circles the female and mounts. Courtship starts in April, with mating usually occurring in early May.

Alligators aren't picky about what they eat. They are carnivores, so any type of prey is a meal to these reptiles. Alligators may eat fish, mollusks, birds, small mammals and other reptiles. Though carnivores usually only eat meat, alligators will also munch on fruit.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Grants DRL 0089283, DRL 0628151, DUE 0633095, DRL 0918590, and DUE 1122742. Additional support has come from the Marisla Foundation, UM College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Museum of Zoology, and Information and Technology Services.

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