American Alligator – interesting facts

July 27, 2010 | In: Animal facts for kids

(Alligator mississipiensis)
Family: Alligatoridae
Order: Crocodilia
Class: Reptilia
Phylum: Vertebrata

Physical Features: Thick bodies and tails. Many sharp teeth. Short, strong legs for walking. Eyes high so they can see above water. Skin tough. Dull grey and dark olive color.

Size: Male – 12 to 15 feet, 450 to 550 lbs. Female – up to 9 feet, up to 160 lbs.

Temperament: Less vicious and active than crocodiles. Nonaggressive, but dangerous when mating and nesting.

Lifespan: 80+ years Range of American Alligator

Habitat: Water and lowlands. In winter, they bury themselves in mud or stay underwater. Bask in sun.

Diet: Carnivorous. Prey on small animals in or near water – fish, snakes, frogs, turtles. Drag small mammals under water and drown them. Tear prey apart. Dangerous to man.

Predators: Man. Eaten. Skin used for leather. Killed if they become pests.

Reproduction: Nests of vegetable debris 4 to 7 feet in deameter and 2 to 3 feet high. 50 eggs buried.
Broods young. 9 inches long when hatched. Grow 1 foot per year until 6 years old – then females slow down.

Conservation Status: Threatened

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