One of the reptiles most of us do not want to meet up with is the American Alligator, also known as the mississippiensis. In North America, it lives in the southeast in freshwater wetlands.
Their Monster Teeth
The American alligator is the largest reptile in the US. It is no wonder that this reptile is capable of attacking and killing a human being with its strong mouth and teeth. It has anywhere from 74 to 80 teeth in its jaw at any given time. If a gator loses a tooth or several teeth, they are replaced. During a lifetime, it can go through 2,000 teeth.
The Alligator Courtship
When spring comes around, this is the time for the breeding season. The males bellow and make all of the noises they can to attract the females. Since their bellowing has an infrasonic component this can cause the surface of the water around the male to ripple and dance about. Other rituals attributed to courtship include head-slapping on the water’s surface, snout and back rubbing, and blowing bubbles.
A Female Alligator Is Devoted
The female alligator is responsible for building a nest made from vegetation. This includes sticks, leaves, and mud. It is built near a body of water. As a part of nature, the vegetation eventually decays. This allows it to heat up and keep the eggs warm. The female stays near her nest during the entire 65-day incubation period to protect it from intruders. When her babies want out of their egg, they begin making high-pitched noises from inside. The mother then starts to dig them out of the nest. She then carries her babes to the water after putting the babe in her jaws. She often protects her babies for up to a year.
How Is Their Sex Determined?
A baby alligator’s sex is determined by temperature. The eggs exposed to temperatures above 93 F become males. Those at 86 F become females. If an egg has a temperature in between those degrees, then it can produce both sexes.
An Alligator’s Diet
This strange-looking reptile is carnivorous. They enjoy fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. Their size mostly determines their diet. Recently it has been reported that they eat wild grapes, citrus fruits directly from trees, and elderberries. They often help to spread the seed of these fruits throughout their habitats.
The Size Of An Alligator
Amazingly, an alligator continues to grow throughout its life. A male American alligator usually grows from eight to ten feet long. A female alligator is slightly smaller. A very old male can grow up to 15 feet long and weigh more than 1,000 pounds. The reptile has a dark, usually black-colored massive body with strong legs and a very long, powerful tail. In the wild, the average lifespan of an alligator is 50 years. One American alligator died in captivity in Paris. It was 85 years old.
This is not a reptile you want to get near – particularly if there’s no barrier to separate you.