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Encyclopedia > Alligator
Alligators
An American Alligator in captivity at the Columbus Zoo
An American Alligator in captivity at the Columbus Zoo
Scientific classification
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Crocodilia
Family: Alligatoridae
Genus: Alligator
Daudin, 1809
Species

Alligator mississippiensis
Alligator sinensis Look up alligator in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1944x2592, 3380 KB) An American Alligator in captivity at the Columbus Zoo, Powell, Ohio. ... restoring version with Binomial name (Daudin, 1801) American Alligator range map The American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is one of the two living species of Alligator, a genus within the family Alligatoridae. ... The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a zoo located in Powell, Ohio, just north of Columbus. ... For other uses, see Scientific classification (disambiguation). ... Typical Classes See below Chordates (phylum Chordata) are a group of animals that includes the vertebrates, together with several closely related invertebrates. ... Reptilia redirects here. ... black: range of Crocodilia Families Gavialidae Alligatoridae Crocodylidae Crocodilia is an order of large reptiles that appeared about 84 million years ago in the Late Cretaceous Period (Campanian stage). ... Living Genera Alligator Caiman Melanosuchus Paleosuchus Alligators and caimans are reptiles, small species of crocodilians and forming the family Alligatoridae (sometimes regarded instead as the subfamily Alligatorinae). ... François Marie Daudin (March 25, 1774 - 1804) was a French zoologist. ... restoring version with Binomial name (Daudin, 1801) American Alligator range map The American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is one of the two living species of Alligator, a genus within the family Alligatoridae. ... Binomial name Fauvel, 1879 The Chinese Alligator or Yangtze Alligator (Chinese: , Alligator sinensis) is one of two living species of Alligator, a genus within the family Alligatoridae. ...

An alligator is a crocodilian in the genus Alligator of the family Alligatoridae. The name alligator is an anglicized form of the Spanish el lagarto ("the lizard"), the name by which early Spanish explorers and settlers in Florida called the alligator. There are two living alligator species: the American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) and the Chinese Alligator (Alligator sinensis). Suborders Eusuchia Protosuchia † Mesosuchia † Sebecosuchia † Thalattosuchia † Crocodilia is an order of large reptiles that scientists believe branched off from class Reptilia about 220 million years ago. ... For other uses, see Genus (disambiguation). ... Look up Family in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Living Genera Alligator Caiman Melanosuchus Paleosuchus Alligators and caimans are reptiles, small species of crocodilians and forming the family Alligatoridae (sometimes regarded instead as the subfamily Alligatorinae). ... Anglicisation is a process of making something English. ... This article is about the U.S. State of Florida. ... For other uses, see Species (disambiguation). ... restoring version with Binomial name (Daudin, 1801) American Alligator range map The American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is one of the two living species of Alligator, a genus within the family Alligatoridae. ... Binomial name Fauvel, 1879 The Chinese Alligator or Yangtze Alligator (Chinese: , Alligator sinensis) is one of two living species of Alligator, a genus within the family Alligatoridae. ...

Contents

Description

Alligators are characterized by a wider snout than crocodiles. Both living species also tend to be darker in color, often nearly black but color is very dependent on the water. Algae-laden waters produce greener alligators; alligators from waters with a lot of tannic acid from overhanging trees are often darker (although the Chinese alligator has some light patterning.) Also, in alligators only the upper teeth can be seen with the jaws closed, in contrast to true crocodiles, in which upper and lower teeth can be seen. However, many individuals bear jaw deformities which complicate this means of identification. For other uses, see Crocodile (disambiguation). ...


The eyes of a large alligator will glow red and those of a smaller one will glow green when a light is shined on them. This fact can be used to find alligators in the dark.


An average American alligator's weight and length is 800 lbs (360 kg) and 13 feet (4 m) long. According to the Everglades National Park website, the largest alligator ever recorded in Florida was 17 feet 5 inches long (5.3 m). The largest alligator ever recorded in Alabama measured 12 feet 10 inches (3.7 m). The largest alligator ever recorded measured 19 feet 2 inches (5.8 m) and was found on Marsh Island, Louisiana. Few of the giant specimens were weighed, but the larger ones could have exceeded a ton in weight. The Chinese Alligator is smaller, rarely exceeding 7 feet (2 m) in length.


An alligator's lifespan is usually estimated in the range of 50 years or more. A specimen named Muja has resided in the Belgrade Zoo in Serbia since 1937, making it at least 70 years old. Another specimen, Čabulītis, in Riga Zoo, Latvia died in 2007 being more than 72 years old. For other uses, see Belgrade (disambiguation). ... Not to be confused with Republika Srpska. ... ÄŒabulÄ«tis in June 2007 ÄŒabulÄ«tis (fl. ... Riga Zoo is a city-owned zoo in Riga, Latvia. ...


Habitat

American Alligator
American Alligator

Alligators are native to only two countries: the United States and China. Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixel Image in higher resolution (2048 × 1536 pixel, file size: 831 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Alligator resting on log. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixel Image in higher resolution (2048 × 1536 pixel, file size: 831 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Alligator resting on log. ...


The American Alligators normally live along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida as well as Arkansas, Georgia and the Carolinas. Gulf of Mexico in 3D perspective. ... For other uses, see Texas (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Oklahoma (disambiguation). ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... This article is about the U.S. State of Florida. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... The Carolinas is a collective term used in the United States to refer to the states of North and South Carolina together. ...


The majority of American Alligators inhabit Florida and Louisiana. In Florida alone there are estimated to be more than one million alligators. The United States is the only place where both alligators and crocodiles live side by side. American Alligators live in freshwater environments, such as ponds, marshes, wetlands, rivers, lakes, and swamps, as well as brackish environments. For the village on the Isle of Wight, see Freshwater, Isle of Wight. ... Two people reflected in a fish pond A pond is typically a man made body of water smaller than a lake. ... This article is about marsh, a type of wetland. ... A subtropical wetland in Florida, USA, with an endangered American Crocodile. ... For other uses, see River (disambiguation). ... Lake Clearwater, Ontario, Canada A lake is a large body of water, usually fresh water, surrounded by land. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


The Chinese alligator currently is found only in the Yangtze River valley and is extremely endangered, with only a couple dozen believed to be left in the wild. Indeed, far more Chinese alligators live in zoos around the world than can be found in the wild. For example, Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in southern Louisiana has several in captivity in an attempt to preserve the species. The Yangtze River or Chang Jiang (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), or Drichu in Tibetan (Tibetan: འབ; Wylie: bri chu) is the longest river in Asia and the third longest in the world, after the Nile in Africa, and the Amazon in South America. ...


Behavior

Large male alligators are solitary, territorial animals. Smaller alligators can often be found in large numbers in close proximity to each other. The largest of the species (both males and females), will defend prime territory; smaller alligators have a higher tolerance of other alligators within a similar size class. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (768x1024, 359 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Alligator ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (768x1024, 359 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Alligator ... Look up Solitary in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In ethology, sociobiology and behavioral ecology, the term territory refers to any geographical area that an animal of a particular species consistently defends against conspecifics (and, occasionally, animals of other species). ...


Although alligators have heavy bodies and slow metabolisms, they are capable of short bursts of speed, especially in very short lunges. Alligators' main prey are smaller animals that they can kill and eat with a single bite. Alligators may kill larger prey by grabbing it and dragging it in the water to drown. Alligators consume food that cannot be eaten in one bite by allowing it to rot or by biting and then spinning or convulsing wildly until bite-size pieces are torn off. This is referred to as the "death roll." Structure of the coenzyme adenosine triphosphate, a central intermediate in energy metabolism. ...


Most of the muscle in an alligator's jaw is intended for biting and gripping prey. The muscles that close the jaws are exceptionally powerful, however the muscles for opening their jaws are relatively weak. As a result, an adult man can hold an alligator's jaw shut with his bare hands. In general, a simple rubber band is enough to prevent an adult alligator from opening its jaws.[citation needed]


Alligators are generally timid towards humans and tend to walk or swim away if one approaches. Unfortunately, this has led some humans to the practice of approaching alligators and their nests in a way that may provoke the animals. There are laws against feeding alligators in several locations where they can be found, although this doesn't mean everyone follow these. If fed, the alligators will eventually lose their fear of humans and may, in turn, choose to approach human settlements instead of moving away.


Diet

Alligators are opportunistic feeders, eating whatever they can catch. When they are young they eat fish, insects, snails, and crustaceans. As they grow, they take progressively larger prey items, including larger fish such as gar, turtles, various mammals, birds, antelope and other reptiles. Their stomachs also often contain gastroliths. They will even consume carrion if they are sufficiently hungry. Adult alligators can take razorbacks and deer and are well known to kill and eat smaller alligators. In some cases, larger alligators have been known to hunt the Florida panther and bears, making it the apex predator throughout its distribution. As humans encroach onto their habitat, attacks on humans are few but not unknown. Alligators, unlike the large crocodiles, do not immediately regard a human upon encounter as prey, but may still attack in self-defense if provoked. Giant African Snail (Achatina fulica) The name snail applies to most members of the molluscan Class Gastropoda that have coiled shells. ... Classes Remipedia Cephalocarida Branchiopoda Ostracoda Maxillopoda Malacostraca The crustaceans (Crustacea) are a large group of arthropods (55,000 species), usually treated as a subphylum. ... Species Atractosteus spatula Atractosteus tristoechus Atractosteus tropicus Lepisosteus oculatus Lepisosteus osseus Lepisosteus platostomus Lepisosteus platyrhincus In American English the name gar (or garpike) is strictly applied to members of the Lepisosteidae, a family including seven living species of fish in two genera that inhabit fresh, brackish, and occasionally marine, waters... Gastroliths (stomach stones or gizzard stones) are rocks, which are or have been held inside the digestive tract of an animal. ... An American Black Vulture feeding on squirrel carrion For other uses, see Carrion (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Florida panther (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Bear (disambiguation). ... Apex predators (also alpha predators, superpredators, or top-level predators) are predators that, as adults, are not normally preyed upon in the wild in significant parts of their ranges. ...


Attacks on humans

Human deaths caused by alligators have increased. While there were only nine fatal attacks in the U.S.A. between 1970 and 2000, eleven people were killed by alligators in the five years between 2001 and 2006 alone.[citation needed]


Alligators do tend to be wary of humans, but overconfidence has led some people to enter the animals' habitat in ways that provoke aggression.


Reproduction

Alligator eggs and young
Alligator eggs and young
Alligators of various ages in Everglades National Park
Alligators of various ages in Everglades National Park

Alligators generally mature at a length of six feet (1.8 m). The mating season is in spring. The female builds a nest of vegetation; the decomposition of the vegetation provides the heat needed by the incubating eggs. The sex of the offspring is determined by the temperature in the nest and is fixed within 7 to 21 days of the start of incubation. Incubation temperatures of 30 °C (86 °F) or lower produce a clutch of females; those of 34 °C (93 °F) or higher produce entirely males. Nests constructed on levees are hotter than those constructed on wet marsh and, thus, the former tend to produce males and the latter, females. The natural sex ratio at hatching is five females to one male. Females hatched from eggs incubated at 30 °C weigh significantly more than males hatched from eggs incubated at 34 °C.[3] The mother will defend the nest from predators and will assist the hatchlings to water. She will provide protection to the young for about a year if they remain in the area. The largest threat to the young are adult alligators. Predation by adults on young can account for a mortality rate of up to fifty percent in the first year. In the past, immediately following the outlawing of alligator hunting, populations rebounded quickly due to the suppressed number of adults preying upon the new recruits, increasing survival among the young alligators. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (2012x1385, 1258 KB) This file has been extracted from an original image in The New Students Reference Work: Image:LA2-NSRW-1-0072. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (2012x1385, 1258 KB) This file has been extracted from an original image in The New Students Reference Work: Image:LA2-NSRW-1-0072. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1382x1037, 704 KB)A picture taken in Everglades National Park by me. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1382x1037, 704 KB)A picture taken in Everglades National Park by me. ... Everglades National Park preserves the southern portion of the Everglades (all south of Tamiami Trail), but represents only 20 % of the original wetland area. ...


Farming

Alligator farming is a big and growing industry in Florida, Texas and Louisiana. These states produce a combined annual total of some 45,000 alligator hides. Alligator hides bring good prices and hides in the 6-7 foot (1.8-2 m) range have sold for $300 each, though the price can fluctuate considerably from year to year. The market for alligator meat is growing and approximately 300,000 pounds (140 000 kg) of meat is produced annually. According to the Florida Department of Agriculture, raw alligator meat contains roughly 200 calories per 3oz (85 g) serving size, of which 27 calories come from fat.[1]


Differences between alligators and crocodiles

While alligators are often confused with crocodiles, they belong to two quite separate taxonomic families, and are as distinct from one another as humans are from gorillas. For other uses, see Crocodile (disambiguation). ...


Alligators differ from crocodiles principally in having wider and shorter heads, with more obtuse snouts; in having the fourth, enlarged tooth of the under jaw received, not into an external notch, but into a pit formed for it within the upper one; in lacking a jagged fringe which appears on the hind legs and feet of the crocodile; in having the toes of the hind feet webbed not more than half way to the tips; and an intolerance to salinity, alligators strongly preferring fresh water, while crocodiles can tolerate salt water due to specialized glands for filtering out salt. In general, crocodiles tend to be more dangerous to humans than alligators.


As for appearance, one generally reliable rule is that alligators have U-shaped heads, while crocodiles are V-shaped. Crocodiles have a longer narrower snout, with eyes farther forward. [2]Also, if one looks at an alligator and then a crocodile, one will notice a difference in their mouths: only the upper teeth are visible when an alligator's mouth is closed, while a crocodile's mouth will reveal both upper and lower teeth, as their fourth tooth sticks out from the lower jaw, rather than fitting neatly into the upper jaw. [3] Crocodiles also tend to have green eyes, while alligators have brown ones.[citation needed]


Another distinction can be drawn between the jaws of the two animals. Crocodiles' jaws are much more narrow and are used to tear and grip on prey. By contrast, alligators' jaws are meant to crush bones, and can deliver a bite force of up to 3000psi (20MPa).[citation needed] By:John Lloyd A pressure gauge reading in PSI (red scale) and kPa (black scale) The pound-force per square inch (symbol: lbf/in2) is a non-SI unit of pressure based on avoirdupois units. ... For other uses, see Pascal. ...


Media

  • Alligator bellow
    Alligator bellow, ogg/Vorbis format).
    Another alligator bellow
    Alligator bellow, ogg/Vorbis format).
    Alligator hiss
    Alligator hiss ogg/Vorbis format).
  • Problems playing the files? See media help.

Image File history File links Alligatorbellowedit. ... Ogg is an open standard for a free container format for digital multimedia, unrestricted by software patents and designed for efficient streaming and manipulation. ... Vorbis is an open source, lossy audio codec project headed by the Xiph. ... Image File history File links 27alligator2bellow. ... Ogg is an open standard for a free container format for digital multimedia, unrestricted by software patents and designed for efficient streaming and manipulation. ... Vorbis is an open source, lossy audio codec project headed by the Xiph. ... Image File history File links Alligatorhiss. ... Ogg is an open standard for a free container format for digital multimedia, unrestricted by software patents and designed for efficient streaming and manipulation. ... Vorbis is an open source, lossy audio codec project headed by the Xiph. ...

See also

This is a list of fatal alligator attacks that occurred in the United States by decade in reverse chronological order. ...

References

  1. ^ Calories in Alligator Meat
  2. ^ Lloyd, J & Mitchinson, J: "The Book of General Ignorance". Faber & Faber, 2006.
  3. ^ Lloyd, J & Mitchinson, J: "The Book of General Ignorance". Faber & Faber, 2006.

John Lloyd (born 1951 in Dover, England; birth name: John Hardress Wilfred Lloyd), British comedy writer and producer. ... John Mitchinson is the head of research for the British television panel game QI, and co-author of The Book of General Ignorance with QIs creator John Lloyd. ... QI: The Book of General Ignorance (UK cover) The Book of General Ignorance is a series of books based on the final round in the intellectual British panel game QI, written by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson. ... John Lloyd (born 1951 in Dover, England; birth name: John Hardress Wilfred Lloyd), British comedy writer and producer. ... John Mitchinson is the head of research for the British television panel game QI, and co-author of The Book of General Ignorance with QIs creator John Lloyd. ... QI: The Book of General Ignorance (UK cover) The Book of General Ignorance is a series of books based on the final round in the intellectual British panel game QI, written by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson. ...

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Alligator
  • Crocodilian Online
  • Everglades National Park Alligators
  • Temperature of egg incubation determines sex

  Results from FactBites:
 
Alligator - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (726 words)
An alligator is a crocodilian in the genus Alligator of the family Alligatoridae.
Alligators are characterized by a broader snout and eyes more dorsally located than their crocodile cousins.
Alligators consume food that cannot be eaten in one bite by allowing it to rot or by biting and then spinning or convulsing wildly until bite size pieces are torn off.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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