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Note: Florida is a state rich in a broad range of wildlife species. Below, in field guide format are brief descriptions of the species described in the Educational Video Series Florida's Wild Future.

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American Alligators - Alligator mississippiensis

American Alligators are residents of great river swamps, lakes, bayous, and other bodies of fresh water in Florida, the Gulf, and lower Atlantic states. While they can survive in salt and brackish water for brief periods of time, they live in fresh water since they do not have a salt processing gland as do their crocodile cousins. The full grown American alligator is dark, though sometimes the paler markings of juveniles may last into early adulthood. These reptiles are baskers, laying in the sun to raise their body temperature to a working level. Females make nest mounds of vegetable matter which they protect from spring to autumn when they are incubating young.

American Alligator Picture
American Alligator


Size:
Body length, 6-16 ½ feet (average female length 8.2 feet, average adult male length 11.2 feet)
Weight, Adult males can weigh ½ a ton
Life Cycle:
Sexual maturity, when they are about 6 feet long, usually10-12 years of age
Life span, unknown
Reproduction:
Mating Season: April-May
Number of eggs: 35-88, average 50
Incubation: Approx. 65 days
Diet:
Juvenile, invertebrates especially insects, small reptiles, amphibians and fish
Adults, fish, turtles, snakes, small mammals, birds
Predators: As Juveniles, various including herons, eagles, raccoons, etc. As adults none except humans and occasionally other alligators
Social Structure: Mostly solitary but individuals come together in the mating season and newly hatched juveniles live in small groups called pods
Territory Size: Males 2 square miles or more, females varied but much smaller
Conservation Status: Threatened: While there are healthier numbers of Alligators than crocodiles in North America, the two species are often confused. As is true for all large aquatic and semi aquatic species habitat is shrinking due to human expansion and development



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