Alligator Facts

Alligator Facts
Alligator is a type of large reptile that appeared on the planet 37 million years ago. There are two species of alligator: American alligator, that lives in the southern parts of the USA, and Chinese alligator, that lives in the eastern parts of China. Alligator can be found in the swamps, slow-moving rivers, ponds and lakes. Chinese alligator is classified as critically endangered, while American alligator is still numerous and widespread in the wild.
Interesting Alligator Facts:
American alligator can reach 11.2 feet in length and 1000 pounds of weight, while Chinese alligator can reach 4.6 to 4.9 feet in length and 50 pounds of weight.
Alligator has dark, usually black-colored body.
Alligator has massive body, strong legs and long, powerful tail. It has wide, rounded, U-shaped snout, unlike crocodile which has pointed, V-shaped snout. Teeth of an alligator are not visible when the jaws are closed, while teeth of a crocodile are always exposed (even with closed jaws).
Alligator is a carnivore. Its diet is based on fish, mollusks, reptiles (including immature alligators), mammals and birds. Meat-based diet is occasionally supplemented with fruit.
Alligator has one of the strongest bites in the world, but it has very weak muscles responsible for opening of jaws. That's why piece of duct tape or pair of human hands can keep alligator's mouth closed.
Alligator hunts both in the water and on the solid ground, but it is much faster in the water (swimming speed = 20 miles per hour; running speed = 11 miles per hour).
Alligator climbs on the trees and fences with ease.
Smaller alligators often live in groups called congregations, while very large alligators (of both gender) live solitary and defend their territories from other alligators.
Alligator regularly basks in the sun to increase its body temperature (to warm its blood and increase motility).
Mating season of alligators takes place in June. Males usually mate with several females per season, while females often remain faithful to a single partner (they mate with him from year to year).
Females lay 10 to 50 hard-shelled eggs in the nests made of mud, sticks and vegetation and cover them with debris for protection.
Temperature in the nest determines the gender of the babies. Temperature below 28 degrees of Celsius leads to development of girls. Temperature above 33 degrees of Celsius leads to development of boys, while temperature of 31 degrees of Celsius results in formation of equal number of boys and girls.
Female guards her nest and removes debris from the surface of eggs at the time of hatching. Babies can find food on their own from the moment of birth.
At the age of 2 years, young alligators are ready to leave their mother and start to reproduce.
Lifespan of alligator is unknown. Oldest known alligator has 76 years and it is still alive.

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