American Alligator Fact Sheet

Class:

Reptilia

Order:

Crocadylia

Family:

Alligatoridae

Genus:

Alligator

Species:

mississippiensis

Life span:

Up to 50 years in the wildApproximately 80 under human care

Egg Gestation:

Females make a nest and lay from 20-50 eggs.  Each egg weighs 2-3 oz each.  Hatching occurs after 65 days of incubation.

Number of young at birth:

20-50 

Age of maturity:

10-12 years

Size:

Females 10-12 ft; Males 13-15 ft

Weight:

Up to 900 lbs

Size at birth:

9 - 10 in

 

Animal ambassador not usually on exhibit.

Facts:

  • Found in wetlands of the southeastern United States
  • Small alligators hatchling  eat insects, crabs, crayfish, small fish, frogs, snails and many other small prey.  Larger alligators eat fish, turtles, mammals, snakes, crabs, crayfish, birds, insects and other alligators.
  • If the temperature drops below 86˚ F, all eggs will turn out to be female alligators.  If the temperature rises to 93˚ F or above, all eggs will turn out to be male. At 89.6˚, more than ¾ of the hatchlings are female.
  • The nest is made of mounds of vegetation and mud that can rise 3.5 ft and twice as wide.
  • The American Alligator can only withstand brackish water for short periods of time. 
  • Can tolerate colder temperatures than crocodiles
  • They are the largest reptile in North America.
  • Can go through 2000-3000 teeth in a lifetime.