Where Do Alligators Live
The alligators habitat is freshwater environments such as rivers, swamps, marshes and lakes. The American Alligator can be found from North Carolina to the Rio Grande in Texas. While the Chinese Alligator was once widely distributed across the eastern part of the Yangtze River, its range is now restricted to a small sections of the river.
Alligators shelter in burrows which they dig into mud banks and soil. These burrows are ecologically important as they are used for shelter by other animals once abandoned by the alligators. They also act as a water source, an asset that becomes increasingly valuable in the drier seasons.
Reasons For Population Decline
Considered to be one of the most endangered crocodilians in the world, the Chinese alligator’s biggest threats in the late 20th century were human killing and habitat loss. A majority of the species’ wetland habitats were destroyed to construct rice paddies and dams. During the 1970s and 1980s, humans sometimes killed the alligators, because they believed they were pests, out of fear, or for their meat. Their meat was thought to have the ability to cure colds and prevent cancer and their organs were sold for medicinal purposes. In several restaurants and food centers in China’s more prosperous areas, young alligators were allowed to roam free with their mouths taped shut, and were subsequently killed for human consumption, served as a dish of rice, vegetables, and chopped up alligator flesh. In the late 20th century, people living in the range of the Chinese alligator ate its meat due to believing that it was dragon meat.
The Yangtze was flooded in the winter of 1957, which is believed to have caused many Chinese alligators to drown. Rats, which this species eat, have been poisoned by farmers, so were also a cause for the diminishing of the species. The organochlorine compound sodium pentachlorophenate was used to kill snails in agricultural fields starting in 1958, which incidentally poisoned the alligators as well. Other factors that led to the endangerment of the alligator include natural disasters and geographic separation.
Population And Range Trend
The oldest record of the Chinese alligator is a skeleton fragment found in western Japan. The fossil is estimated to be from the late Pliocene period, 3 million years ago . The skeleton showed that the species was larger at the time than it is currently, with a total length of at least 2 metres . Alligators are believed to have moved into various parts of Japan either before 25 Mya or after 10 Mya and were extirpated from there during the Plio-Pleistocene period, due to Japan’s increased isolation from the continent and harsh climate conditions.
The population of the Chinese alligator began to decline in 5000 BC, when human civilization started to grow in China, after having been very abundant in the lower Yangtze area. This area was one of the first places in the world to farm rice, causing much of the alligator’s habitat to be destroyed in favor of rice farms. In the 1700s, much of the Chinese alligator’s habitat was replaced with farming fields after a large number of people had moved into the area. By the 20th century, its range was reduced to a few small areas around the Yangtze. In the 1950s, the alligator was in three distinct areas: the southern area of the Yangtze from Pengze to the western shore of Lake Tai , the mountainous regions of southern Anhui, and the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang, primarily in lakes, streams, and marshes. By the 1970s, it was restricted to small parts of southern Anhui and Zhejiang, at which time the population was about 1,000.
Read Also: What Does The Hippocampus Do In The Brain
Gharials And False Gharials
Gharials are probably the most unusual of all crocodilians.
Native to India and Nepal, these gigantic fish-eaters possess a highly elongated, slender snout filled with sharp, needle-like teeth.
Mature male gharials also boast an unusual projection at the very tip of their snout.
This strange lump known as the Ghara helps them produce distinctive noises during the breeding season. People usually describe this as a sort of loud pong.
Gharials are highly distinctive and cannot be mistaken for any other crocodilian within their range.
They do look similar to the Southeast Asian false gharial or Tomistoma. Despite being gharial-like in appearance, the Tomistoma was only recently added to the gharial family.
The exact classification of the Tomistoma has been hotly debated over the past few decades.
How Do Alligators Give Birth
Once mating is complete, female alligators construct nests made of vegetation and mud. They can lay over 50 eggs on these nests in a single season. Alligators are amongst the most attentive parents in the reptile world, tending to remain with their young and care for them for as long as three years. Check out this video that shows a newborn alligator hatching from an egg!
The sex of a newborn alligator depends on the temperature of the nest. Incubation temperatures of 30 Celsius or below will produce females, whereas 34 Celsius or above will produce males.
Read Also: Why Do People Get Brain Freeze
Alligator Length Vs Age
As the days continue to warm, guests on McGee’s airboat and swamp tours will begin to see more and more alligators swimming through the swamp or basking in the sun on logs or along the banks of the Atchafalaya Basin. In order to give you a better understanding of what you’re seeing, we created this info-graphic that compares the length of the alligator to its age.
As the image explains, using the red line graph to represent the length to age comparison, an alligator grows very quickly from birth through age 5, growing an incredible one foot per year. Growth then slows slightly until age 10, when the alligator reaches approximately 8 feet in length. However, after 10 years, a female gator will have reached full size , and a male alligator’s growth rate will slow considerably, growing less than an inch per year. For example: A male alligator that is 30 years old would be close to 11 feet long, but by the time it reaches 50 years old , it will have only grown less than two feet. This means many of the largest gators in the Atchafalaya Basin were being born around the same time that man was landing on the moon!
Knowing what you now know, looking back at the graphic, how old do you think the largest alligator on record must have been?!
Book your reservation to see this magnificent creatures in person at www.mcgeesswamptours.com/book-online.
‘nuisance’ Alligator Just Being An Alligator
So, if youre an alligator in Halpatiokee Regional Park, I think its reasonable to assume that you are exactly where you ought to be even if some of your former habitat has been converted to a roller hockey rink, a Frisbee golf course and pickleball courts to amuse the warm-blooded, relatively new invasive species of mammals who are inhabiting the area.
This week, one of the alligators was removed from the park after being designated a nuisance.
It was news around Florida and the world. Heres a sample of the headlines:
- Florida man seriously injured after falling off bike and getting bitten by alligator from The Independent in the United Kingdom
- A Florida man seriously injured after being attacked by an alligator, from CE Noticias Financieras English.
- Gator attacks cyclist who fell from bike from the Orlando Sentinel.
Also Check: Atrophy Of The Hippocampus
Consider The Alligator Brain
To do this it helps to realize that an alligators brain is the size of a lima bean and it weighs only about 9 grams. To put it another way, it would take 50 alligators to get 1 pound of alligator brains.
The adult human brain is the size of two clenched fists and weighs about 3 pounds which would take 150 alligators to equal.
The alligator brain isnt geared to understanding that a tumbling bicycle rider rolling down an embankment toward a nest might just be a big creature who is more of a threat to himself than anybody or anything else.
Alligators will eat almost anything, including each other they bite and fight to eat, court, defend or protect their territory, the Alligator Advisory Council of Louisiana wrote.
The winners are sometimes badly scarred and alligators with missing legs, bobtails, or blinded eyes are not uncommon, it continued. Still, they mostly shy away from humans unless they are fed, challenged or foolishly approached or harassed.
Another headline just in from my imaginary Alligator Gazette: Female gator teaches lesson, shows mercy on human who attacked nest after falling from contraption.
Only If You Can Shoot
He grinned and replied, Only if you can shoot. He did not mean shoot, as in your ability to pull the trigger he meant shoot, as in your ability to hit the right spot.
To kill an alligator with a .380, you simply shoot it just behind the rectangular hard plate on top of the head. A bullet from just about anything placed herein an area about the size of a golf ballends all of the excitement immediately.
Ive probably taken a dozen alligators with .380 and 9mm Winchester Silvertip ammunition, which are not loads most consider to be premium when it comes to personal protection. Ive also seen several gators that were poorly hit become a boat-side fiasco, during which teeth were the only thing you could seem to see or think of.
The point of all this isnt to give you advice on what kind of alligator gun to buy or what kind of ammunition to load in your gator-getter. I mention this because if youre trying to shoot to save your life with a handgun, act as if youre shooting alligators. By that, I mean: Put the bullet in the right spot!
What Is The Conservation Status Of Alligators
In the 1950s, the American Alligator became seriously endangered mainly due to being hunted for their skins. Since then, they have been given legal protection and their numbers have grown. Currently, the American Alligator is classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
In contrast, the Chinese Alligator is critically endangered with fewer than 120 remaining in the wild. Their decline is mainly due to the widespread conversion of their habitat to agricultural land.
- Size: 8.2 -11.2 feet in length for American alligator
- Weight: 380 440 kg for American alligator
- Habitat: Freshwater lakes, marshes, and swamps
- Range: North America and East Asia
Putting The Bullet In The Right Spot
When it comes to firearms training, we too often get caught up in ninja-like drills and gyrations on the range. What will matter most is quickly hitting the right spot.
Shooting African buffalo is very similar to shooting alligators or bad guys: Place the first shot poorly, and youd best hope your life insurance is paid up. Buffalo tend to get, well, pissed off when you shoot them poorly, and they develop an insatiable desire to explain that to you in a very inhospitable manner. Shoot them right, and they run several yards, fall over and die.
Also Check: How Do Brain Freezes Happen
Origins Of The ‘reptilian Complex’
The term, ‘reptilian brain’ is derived from a longstanding belief within the field of neuroanatomy that the forebrains of reptiles, and other small animals, were dominated by these structures. Paul MacLean suggested, within the Triune brain model, that the basal ganglia and a number of the surrounding structures within the base of the forebrain are responsible for ‘species-typical’ behaviors, which are present in aggression, dominance, territoriality, and ritual displays.
Alligators Can Consume Almost A Quarter Of Their Body Weight In One Meal
Alligators dont have a problem with their eyes being bigger than their stomachs. Thanks to a special blood vesselthe second aortatheyre able to shunt blood away from their lungs and towards their stomachs, stimulating the production of strong stomach acids to break down their meals faster. Juvenile alligators are capable of eating about 23 percent of their body weight in a sitting, which is equivalent to a 180-pound person eating more than 41 pounds of steak au poivre at a meal.
Don’t Miss: How Do You Say Brain Stroke In Spanish
Which Are More Dangerous To Humans
According to CrocBITE, a database that keeps track of crocodilian attacks worldwide, the Nile crocodile is the one humans should be the most afraid of. Since the year 2000, there have been 33 human fatalities caused by American gators and crocodiles combined compared to 268 caused by Nile crocodiles alone.
Which Are Bigger: Alligators Or Crocodiles
An adult crocodile can grow up to roughly 19 feet long, whereas for alligators, the maximum length is around 14 feet, so generally speaking, crocodiles are larger.
An alligator in Florida: Notice that the hide is a very dark gray color. The color of a gator’s hide varies according to the water it swims in. Algae makes them greener, and tannic acid from the overhanging trees makes them darker.
Recommended Reading: Why Does Brain Freeze Occur
Ways To Tell Alligators And Crocodiles Apart:
Once you understand the differences, it is actually pretty easy to tell them apart. I explore each of these differences in more detail below.
Note the pointed, v-shape of this crocodile’s snout. The alligator’s snout is wider, more rounded, and shaped like a U.
Alligator Vs Crocodile Size
As a general rule, crocodiles are larger than alligators. Theres a considerable amount of size overlap between the two families.
The Australian saltwater crocodile is the biggest of all crocodilians alive today.
The largest crocodile ever recorded was Lolong, who measured a whopping 20 ft in length and weighed over 2,000 lbs!
Nile crocodiles and American crocodiles are other close contenders, regularly exceeding 16 ft in length.
The dwarf caiman is the smallest crocodilian species, topping out at just over five feet in length.
Dwarf crocodiles are only slightly larger measuring up to around six feet.
The black caiman is the largest member of the alligator family. It can reach proportions close to those of the largest crocodiles, also exceeding 16 ft in length.
You May Like: Do Jigsaw Puzzles Help Your Brain
Does Florida Have Alligators Or Crocodiles
The short answer is that Florida has both, but alligators outnumber crocodiles by a large amount. Alligators live all over Florida, mainly in freshwater, such as swamps, rivers and lakes, though sometimes they can be found in brackish water. Crocodiles live only in the southernmost tip of Florida and there are less than 2,000 of them according to estimates, they live in brackish and salt-water habitats.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the authors knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Lymphohistiocytic Proliferative Syndrome Of Alligators
Lymphohistiocytic proliferative syndrome of alligators , also known as PIX disease, has been recently studied in captive-reared alligators from Florida and Louisiana.83 LPSA affects the quality of the hides in commercial operations, leading to decreased profits for alligator producers. Gross lesions of LPSA are multifocal, 1- to 2-mm, gray to red foci on the ventral mandibular and abdominal scales . They may occasionally be observed on the ventral tail scales. These lesions can be found on any section of a scale and are flush with the scale’s surface however, they may not be clearly visible in the live animal. Often, the lesions are identified during postmortem examination after close inspection of the hide using an intense backlight , appearing as 1- to 2-mm clearings on the scales. The lesions are circular with well-defined margins and can be confused with tooth marks and other imperfections in the skin. Therefore, antemortem identification is not very accurate at this time. Microscopic examination of the skin lesions reveals dermal nodular lymphoid proliferation with perivascular cuffing. The same changes observed in the skin have been found in the lungs, intestines, kidneys, ovaries, testicles, thyroid, gall bladder, mesentery, eyes, and nervous tissue.84 Ongoing research has revealed a strong relationship between exposure to/infection by West Nile virus and the occurrence of PIX lesions.
C.E. Carr, … K.L. Willis, in, 2017
Recommended Reading: How Long Can Your Brain Survive Without Oxygen
Prehistoric Ancestors Of Today’s Alligators Lived 70 Million Years Ago
Alligator forerunners and relatives have been around for a very long time. The largest was Deinosuchus, a 40-foot alligatoroid that lurked in coastal habitats all over North America around 70 million years ago. Damaged bones suggest that unwary dinosaurs were a regular part of the terrible crocodile’s diet. Fortunately, modern American alligators dont come anywhere close to measuring up.
Cover Your Six Get More Personal Defense Info:
- Best Pistol Reviews To Find A Superb Semi-Auto
- Gun Digests 10 Best Shooting Drills And Firearms Training Posts
- 6 Concealed Carry Insurance Options To Protect Your Six
- .45 ACP vs 9mm: Which Is Better?
- For Personal Defense, You Dont Want A Custom Glock
Of course, most of the tactical wizards of the worldfolks whove never seen someone get shot or even seen someone whos been shotlike to pontificate about how a .45 ACP is so much more effective than a 9mm and how much of an imbecile you must be if you carry a .380 for self-defense. Never mind the fact that a properly placed bullet from a .380 ACP will stop a 300-pound alligatorinstantly.
Recommended Reading: What Part Of The Brain Controls Eyesight