The name alligator has its origin in the Spanish word 'el lagarto' which means 'lizard'. Alligators and their cousins crocodiles, both are horrifying creatures. They can be differentiated with the help of their color, jaw or teeth structure, habitat, breeding habits, etc. These days, popular television shows provide ample information on alligators. Facts about an alligator tell us that there are only two living species on the earth, namely the American and the Chinese alligator.
Interesting Alligator Facts for Kids
Interesting Alligator Facts for Kids
- Alligators are cold-blooded animals. The average length of an alligator is about 13-17 feet. Their average weight is around 350-450 kg.
- They have a very powerful jaw and they can easily take hold of a prey weighing more than 900 kg. With the help of 75 strong teeth, they cut the neck of a huge prey in just one crushing bite. These bone-crushing bites help them keep satiated for longer time.
- Alligators have a relatively large appetite. Young alligators catch small fish, insects, tadpoles, frogs, crustaceans, worms and snails. Larger fish like gar, turtles, various mammals, birds, deer, snakes and other reptiles comprise the food of adult alligators. They easily swallow smaller animals in a single bite. If they don't get enough fresh food, they eat dead animals. I am sure you would like to read more on 'what do alligators eat'.
- It is believed that stones which alligators swallow, help them dive deep into the waters. Similarly, the overlapping scales on their armored skin help prevent the effects of harsh salinity of the sea water.
- American alligators prefer to live in fresh waters. You can see them in ponds, marshes, bogs, wetlands, rivers, lakes, swamps and brackish lagoons.
- In the wild, alligators live up to 50 years but in the zoos, with proper care, they can live up to 75 years.
- Alligators are seen busy making nesting mounds in the vegetation, near the freshwater. As they don't have vocal cords, males sometimes follow weird ways to attract the females. They suck the air into lungs and throw it out forcefully at intervals. Their bellowing or low roars attract the females. They mate during springs.
- Interesting facts about American alligator inform us that females can lay 25 to 60 eggs at a time. Mothers cover the eggs with mulch in order to keep them warm.
- The surprising fact about alligators is that the babies are males if the eggs are hatched at temperatures between 90 to 93 degree Fahrenheit, while the babies turn out to be females, if the eggs are hatched between 82 to 86 degree Fahrenheit.
- Alligator facts tell us that they can lay motionless for hours. If you watch carefully, you will be able to see their eyes and nostrils above the water. They come to know about a prey entering into water with the help of the sensors in their skin. The startling speed with which they catch their prey is just unimaginable.
- The powerful tails of alligators help them jump up to 5 feet out of water. This helps them to catch preys on low hanging branches on water. They draw the prey towards water by holding it tightly in their jaws and make it drown.
- You must have heard about the 'death roll', spinning action of a prey done by an alligator! When they catch a large animal, they eat it by spinning it in a ferocious manner. They do it until the prey gets torn into required bite size chunks.
- Being cold-blooded animals, alligators can stay satiated by eating once in a week. If they get a larger prey, they hide the remaining portion once they are full and eat it later.
- American alligator is no more an endangered species. But only a few Chinese alligators exist in the wild now.