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Flashcards in American Alligator Deck (27):
1

How is an alligator different from a crocodile?

Alligators have "U" shaped snouts, whereas crocodiles have "V" shaped ones. Crocodiles can live in brackish or saltwater bodies of water, whereas alligators live in fresh water (because they have no salt glands). The alligator's upper jaw is larger, meaning the lower teeth cannot be seen when the mouth is shut.

2

How big is an American alligator?

Males: 13 - 14.7 feet.
Females: 10 feet.
Weight: Up to 1,000 pounds.
There are unverified and unlikely records of alligators over 16 feet long.

3

What are the three stages of breeding for the American alligator?

Courtship: April
Breeding: May
Nest built and eggs laid: June/early July

4

What is the American alligator's incubation period?

Around 65 days

5

How many offspring does the American alligator have?

35 - 50
World record is 88

6

At what age do American alligators reach sexual maturity?

10 - 12 years old and 6 feet long.
Males reach maturity earlier.

7

What is the lifespan of the American alligator?

Wild: 35 - 50 years
Captivity: 65 - 80 years

8

What is the habitat and range of the American alligator?

It is found in freshwater swamps, marshes, rivers, lakes, and some smaller bodies of water throughout the southern and southeastern United States.

9

What is the scientific name of the American alligator?

Alligator mississipiensis

10

What do American alligators eat?

Young: Small fish, snails, insects, and amphibians.
Adults: Fish, turtles, snakes, birds, and small mammals. Sometimes eats fruit and larger mammals like deer.
It is the only known predator of the cougar. They also eat fruit from time to time.

11

How does the American alligator hunt?

Ambush predator. It lies in wait in the water, often under the cover of night. It will catch and swallow small prey whole. Larger prey is dragged into the water and drowned before being torn to pieces.

12

Why does the American alligator balance sticks on its head?

They balance nesting materials on their head to get birds close so they can catch them easily.

13

Are American alligators social?

Young alligators will get together in groups near where they are born to better protect themselves from predators. Adults are solitary.

14

What are some predators of the American alligator?

Young can be caught by birds, snakes, fish, and medium-sized mammals. Adults are an apex predator.

15

What do alligators do when it gets cold?

They dig long burrows and sit in them in a state of dormancy.

16

How do American alligators communicate vocally?

Young alligators squeak or whine to call to their mother. Adults bellow and roar. The bellow can be heard up to 165 yards away. They will also purr when courting. They will hiss when threatened.

17

How do American alligators communicate verbally?

They will slap the water, raise their heads, blow bubbles, make vibrations in the water, and make ripples.

18

What are some of the adaptions of the American alligator?

Webbed feet and strong tail: Allows for easy swimming.
Crushing jaws: Exert over 2000 psi.
Increased temperature resistance: Can survive in water that has begun to freeze. Found further north than any other crocodillian.

19

What is an American alligator's role in its habitat?

They build "alligator holes", which are small ponds. They are invaluable for other species. Some species will use old alligator nests for their nests. Alligators also control prey populations.

20

How long have crocodillians been around?

83.5 million years. Late cretaceous period.

21

Is the American alligator endangered?

No, it is listed as least concern. However, it was once very endangered because of hunting for its skin and meat. They were very popular in the fashion trade. They are still protected in many areas to make sure populations stay stable and to make sure people do not kill American crocodiles by mistake.

22

Can alligators climb?

Somewhat. They can scale fallen trees to bask.

23

What states have the American alligator as their state reptile?

Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

24

Are alligators good mothers?

Yes. The mother is extremely protective of her young. She will even carry them in her mouth.

25

Do alligators kill humans?

Yes, but they are not as aggressive as crocodiles. Incidents are few and far between.

26

How many calories does alligator meat contain?

200 calories. 27 from fat.

27

How long can alligators hold their breath?

Over an hour