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American alligator

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American alligator
Alligator.jpg
Scientific Classification
Binomial Name

Alligator mississippiensis

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The American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is a member of the order Crocodilia, which like many reptiles are living fossils. According to evolutionists, they have survived on earth for 200 million years virtually remaining unchanged. The American Alligator is the largest reptile in North America.

Anatomy

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Alligators are black when they are wet and dark gray when dry. Young alligators have light yellow lines on their tails. The American Alligator has a large, slightly rounded body with thick limbs, a broad head, and a very powerful tail. They use their tail for swimming. When they close their mouth, the lower jaw goes into the upper jaw.

Some people confuse crocodiles and alligators, but the mouths are noticeably different. Alligators have a thinner and longer mouth than crocodiles. In addition, we can't see the fourth teeth of alligators when they close their mouth.

Males are 11 to 12 feet long and weigh 450-550 pounds. Females are no longer than 9 feet and weigh about 160 pounds.

Reproduction

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They reproduce sexually. The breeding season begins in the spring and only once a year. They reproduce in the water. Female alligators lay about 40 eggs in nests that they make. The incubation period is 65 days.

The temperature dictates the gender of the unborn crocodilians. If the eggs hatch in temperature that is over 30˚C, these crocodilians will be males, and if under 30˚C, they will be females.

Ecology

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Alligators eat fish, snakes, frogs, turtles, birds - almost everything. Large alligators can even eat razorbacks and deer and are well known to kill and eat smaller alligators. Young alligators eat insects, snails, and fish. In some cases, larger alligators have been known to eat bears. In addition, they sometimes attack humans.

American Alligators live in Alabama, Arkansas, North & South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Related References

See Also