Alligator Mississippiensis, the American alligator, is the largest North American reptile. They are found in the southeastern parts of the United States in freshwater. Habitat preservation, a massive reduction in the demand for products made of alligator, and federal/state conservation measures have helped bring this species from the brink of extinction up to a population of a million. While this is amazing all on its own, you will find that these creatures are full of surprises. Here are some amazing facts about the American alligator.
On average, the American alligator has about 74-80 teeth in their jaws. However, in their lifetime, they will have more than 2,000 teeth. When one is worn down or lost, it is replaced. Their teeth are not the only part of them that is astounding.
Their bodies will continue to grow over their entire lifetime. The average male American alligator can reach about 10 feet in length. Females tend to be smaller. Very old males have been noted to reach up to 15 feet. Their bodies weigh more than 1,000 lbs.
For starters, alligators are vocal. You will hear them while aboard your airboat tours in Orlando for many reasons. They make different calls to threaten, signal for help, claim territory, and to attract mates. They don't have vocal cords, so they bellow loudly in intermittent roars. They can also cough, hiss, and growl.
Speaking of their vocals, males will bellow to attract females at the beginning of breeding season. This is more sophisticated than it sounds, as their bellows carry an infrasonic component. This component will cause the water around the male to dance and ripple. Their rituals can also include head-slapping, back and snout rubbing, and bubble blowing.
Their brains will also show outside of their communication and rituals. American alligators also use tools. They will use lures to attract birds that are looking for material for their nests. By balancing branches or sticks on their own heads, they hunt birds who come to investigate.
When nesting, the female alligator will build nests near a body of water using various vegetation, mud, and sticks. During the incubation time (65 days), the mom will guard her young. Once it is time for the eggs to hatch, the young will create noises inside their shells. This will tell the mom it is time to dig them out and take them to the water. Her protection over her young can extend for a year of their life.
Super Cool Fact: The temperature of the egg during development will determine the sex. Lower temperatures produce females, whereas higher temperatures will produce males. If you are looking for a unique experience to get up close and personal to an American Alligator, contact us to reserve your airboat tours in Orlando today.