Kw-logo-smaller

American Alligator Overview

The American Alligator is quite different from the American Crocodile.
American Alligator

There are close to 8,000 different reptile species in the world, but one specific reptile has been making headlines for its ferocious nature. Find out a little more about alligators, right here!

Alligators: The Basics

Alligators are reptiles that call the southeastern United States home. They live in fresh or brackish (part salt, part fresh) water like swamps, marshes and canals and are primarily nocturnal animals who feed between dusk and dawn. Like most reptiles, alligators are cold-blooded and reproduce by laying eggs.

See Ya Later Alligator, In a While Crocodile

Alligators are often confused with the similar-looking reptilian species, the crocodile. These two animals are, however, different in many ways. While the crocodile has a long, V-shaped snout, the alligator has a shorter, much more rounded snout. Crocodiles have special salivary glands that excrete salt, making it easier for them to tolerate salt-water environments. Alligators, on the other hand, do not have these salivary glands and cannot live in salt water habitats. Crocodiles are also generally perceived as being much more aggressive than alligators.

A History of Violence

Historically, alligators are known as the less-violent, jaw-snappin' reptile, but there has beena dramatic increase in alligator attacks. Over the past 57 years, there have only been 17 or so cases of fatal alligator attacks across Florida. In May 2006, the state saw three fatal attacks in just a few short weeks. Conservationists blame the rise in attacks on the alligators' depleting habitat, low water levels after a violent hurricane season and humans' closer proximity to the sharp-toothed animal.

Did U Know?

  • Alligators live for approximately 30 to 35 years in the wild.
  • Alligators swallow their prey whole - from insects to small mammals.
  • The Alligator became the official state animal of Florida in 1987.
  • Alligators have 80 teeth - 40 on top and 40 on the bottom.
  • The word alligator comes from the Spanish words, el lagarto which means, the lizard.
Related Stories

readers voted!

Comments

baseballdude13
my sister is obsessed with alligators. sorry she scared u byee
commented: Wed Sep 07, 2011

Ninja-Nate

Ninja-Nate wrote:

ikr
commented: Tue Sep 06, 2011

miamidolphinsbabe
i would have on as a pet. THEYR SOO CUTE!!!!
commented: Tue Sep 06, 2011

there are 21 more comments

Please login or register to add comments


like this article?
Sign up now to get more just like it!

latest videos

F1148489778078

What's Your Fave Reptile?

  • Alligators.
  • Geckos.
  • Turtles.
  • Crocodiles.

related stories

Micro_dolphin-micro
We’re visiting with Winter the dolphin and her actor friends on set in sunny Clearwater, Florida
Micro_l micro
They call it the Little 5 (the Little 500) on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington, In...
Cuba is a controversial country that is brimming with life. Get the 411 on its culture, history a...

Random in the forums

HappyBaker
HappyBaker posted in General:
I think everyone knows this game, but here's a few rules... 1. Nothing nasty! So keep it clean! 2. No arguements, this is NOT a competition... 3. Keep friendly, and have fun! Ok.. I'll start it off.... Would you rather: be licked by a giraffe or by an elephant? x) ;)
reply 13 minutes
ows_ali123
received: 139
reply 31 minutes
ows_ali123
enSure
reply 41 minutes
ows_ali123
it is 16 nd u r 12
reply 42 minutes
Malora
Malora posted in General:
D
reply about 2 hours

play online games

Valantine-day-crossword-thumb

Valentine's Day is almost here! Time for candy, hearts, flowers, love and, of co...

Goodgameempire-thumb

Goodgame Empire is a great strategy title by Goodgame Studios. Build your own ca...

Black-history-month-crossword-pre

Black History Month is a time to celebrate the amazing contributions of African ...

Big-farm-thumb

Uncle George has left you his farm, but unfortunately it’s in pretty bad shape. ...

Candy-cash-thumb

Candy's got her candies into a terrible mess, can you help her to sort them out?

Candy-100

A great online version of the famous Candy Crush. This is the best game launched...

_thumb_100x100

Bloons 2 is here! A worthy and awesome sequel at last to our original Bloons gam...

Frostbox_100x100

Explore the world or hang out with friends in your own condo. Get a unique look,...