- The scientific name for the American alligator is:
- The common name Alligator comes from the Spanish; el
lagarto, meaning "lizard" This Spanish phrase mispronounced
in English came to be "Alligator".
- Alligator breeding season in Florida begins in April and
runs through the end of May.
- The female alligator begins building a nest.
This is also called a mound.
- The female alligator lays eggs over a two week period in
- The female alligator lays about 35 to 40 eggs.
This is called a "clutch"
- Alligator eggs are creamy white in color. These
eggs are about the size of a goose egg.
- Baby alligators emerge from their egg after about 65
- The mother alligator protects the nest.
- The mother alligator will actually assist the hatchlings
to break out of their shells. The mother hears the baby grunt form
inside the shell. She will then lift the egg in her mouth and roll it
around against the roof of her mouth with her tongue. This cracks the
egg and the little one is able to escape.
- The mother alligator will often carry the new born to
- Alligator mothers often remain with their young for
- While the eggs are incubating, higher temperatures, of
90 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit result in males while slightly cooler temperatures,
82 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit result in females. This temperature
variation will affect the determination of the sex of the incubating
alligator in the first half of incubation.
- Turtles will lay their eggs on top of an alligator
mound. Possibly for protection of their eggs.
- 60 to 80% of newborns are male according to samples
taken in the wild.
- Alligators become sexually mature at 6 feet.
- Males alligators grow slightly faster than females until
about the length of six feet.
- Alligators vocalize. The males and females produce
a bellowing sound. Males actually sound different from the
- Baby alligators make a grunting sound.
- If a baby issues a distress call, which is a series of
grunt sounds, the mother alligator or other adults will respond quickly to
the aid of the babies.
- Vocal sounds are of low frequency and can travel over
long distances with little distortion. Underwater, these sounds may
travel even four times further.
- Alligators as very efficient swimmers, are the
"ballet performers" of the Everglades. They streamline
themselves by holding their legs close to their body and push themselves
through the water with "S" movements of their tail.
- Alligators can "tail walk". They can
leap quickly out of the water and almost look like a dolphin.
- The alligator has a four chambered heart like a
mammal. They and other crocodilians are the only reptiles with four
- Alligator teeth continue to be replaced by newer
ones. This occurs every two years. Teeth in the front are
replaced more often than teeth to the rear of the mouth. Alligator
teeth are hollow.
- Alligators are opportunistic hunters. They wait
for their food to come to them. If something that looks appetizing
swims by; the alligator with a quick burst of energy will seize its prey.
- The alligator stomach is the most acidic of any of the
vertebrates. The alligator can digest 100% of bone that it
- Alligators can go for long periods between meals.
It is believed that an alligator can survive without eating, for up to a year
or even longer.
- Alligators grow approximately a foot per year for the
first six years.
- "Gator Holes" - deep holes dug by alligators
in the Everglades (sometimes over many years) hold water in the dry
season. These holes allow fish and other aquatic creatures to survive
in these extreme dry conditions. This gator hole also provides a
source of drinking water for other animals.
Cool stories about alligators
According to John Brickell in a story on alligators
published in "The Natural History of North Carolina" in 1737, reported
that alligators frequently killed dogs and pigs. In his opinion, they
developed a real taste for dogs.
The dogs of the Native Americans outwitted
alligators. They were well aware of the dangers of alligators, or so it
seemed. A pack of dogs wishing to cross the Mississippi would approach the
banks and bark loudly. They would also slap the water with their paws to
attract the alligators from the area. When the alligators congregated in
the area that the dogs attracted them to, they (dogs) ran farther down the river
bank and crossed at a safe distance from the deceived alligators.
Large alligator teeth were used for powder chargers for
musket rifles. These hollow teeth held the right "powder charge"
for the rifles. Hunters would inscribe beautiful scenes on these alligator
teeth powder charge holders.
During the civil war, the south was cut off from supplies by
the north. Shoe leather like other commodities was in short supply.
Alligator hides were used as a replacement for leather in the manufacture of shoes and boots
for Confederate soldiers.
In the middle of the 1800's, alligator teeth mounted in
decorative settings were used as baby pacifiers. Often times, the
alligator tooth was highly polished white and set in silver. The tooth was
hung around the babies neck and rubbed against the little one's gums when they
were cutting teeth. Some even thought that the energy from the alligators
powerful jaws could be absorbed by the infants delicate jaw taking the pain
Helpful Hint About Alligators:
If you are being chased by an alligator and
you are with a friend.........
Stay ahead of your friend!
Alligator Picture Page
Stay tuned for "Part Two" on Dija
Know about alligators?