, American alligators are considered an apex predator throughout their range. Recently a seven-foot alligator was videoed by TWRA Region 1 personnel in West Tennessee at the Wolf River WMA in Fayette County.  This adaptiveness is thought to be why American alligators are widespread further north than the American crocodile. This site states they occur as far north as the North Carolina-Virginia border, and to Texas. The largest populations live in the southernmost counties, but healthy populations also live near the lakes of the Croatan National Forest in parts of Carteret, Craven and Jones co… Adult male American alligators measure 3.4 to 4.6 m (11.2 to 15.1 ft) in length, and can weigh up to 453 kg (999 lb). The discovery of this unexpected part of the American alligator diet further reveals that they may be responsible for spreading seeds from the fruit they consume across their habitat. , Other animals may occasionally be eaten, even large deer or feral wild boars, but these are not normally part of the diet. While you might find the occasional alligator and plenty of alligator gar in Texas, rest assured, that Texas is not like Florida that is abundant with alligators who can be dangerous. Unlike an American crocodile, which would immediately succumb to the cold and drown in water at 45 °F (7 °C) or less, an American alligator can survive in such temperatures for some time without displaying any signs of discomfort. Their range extends down to southern Florida and includes the Everglades. Unlike most other land vertebrates, American alligators increase their speed through the distal rather than proximal ends of their limbs. Body Colour.  To the north, we may imagine that they stop somewhere around Disney World. Crocodiles have an olive green or brown body coloration.. Alligators are darker in colour: blackish or gray is usually the norm.. 8. Bellowing is performed in a "head oblique, tail arched" posture.  In the saltwater crocodile, for example, the females are only slightly larger at average (2.4 m (7 ft 10 in) in the American alligator, 2.6 m (8 ft 6 in) in the saltwater crocodile) than female American alligators, but the mature males, at 4.3 to 5.2 m (14 ft 1 in to 17 ft 1 in) typically, as opposed to 2.4 to 4 m (7 ft 10 in to 13 ft 1 in) expected in mature male American alligators, are considerably bigger than male American alligators and at median are nearly twice as long as and at least four times as heavy as the female saltwater crocodiles of the same species. , American alligators play an important role in the restoration of the Everglades as biological indicators of restoration success.  Stomach contents show, among native mammals, muskrats and raccoons are some of the most commonly eaten species. The nests built on levees are warmer, thus produce males, while the cooler nests of wet marsh produce females. Most of the eight children and 15 adults had been in freshwater bodies of water.  In the limestone depressions of cypress swamps, alligator holes tend to be large and deep, while those in marl prairies and rocky glades are usually small and shallow, and those in peat depressions of ridge and slough wetlands are more variable.  Hatchlings gather into pods and are guarded by their mother and keep in contact with her through their "yelping" vocalizations. "Gators" has been the nickname of the University of Florida's sports teams since 1911. Both sexes may den underneath banks or clumps of trees during the winter. Most of North Carolina's alligators are found in the southeastern corner of the state, excluding the Outer Banks. The superfamily Alligatoroidea includes all crocodilians (fossil and extant) that are more closely related to the American alligator than to either the Nile crocodile or the gharial..  In Arkansas, a man killed an American alligator that was 4.04 m (13 ft 3 in) and 626 kg (1,380 lb). , Occasionally, domestic animals, including dogs, cats, and calves, are taken as available, but are secondary to wild and feral prey.  A specimen that was 4.8 m (15 ft 9 in) long and weighed 458.8 kg (1,011.5 lb) is the largest American alligator killed in Alabama and has been declared the SCI world record in 2014. , American alligators primarily bask on shore, but also climb into and perch on tree limbs to bask if no shoreline is available. Alligator hunters, pelt traders, and runaway consumption of Gulf coast marshes: A trophic cascade perspective on coastal wetland losses.  Additionally, American alligators engage in what seems to be cooperative hunting.  ", "Alternative Opportunities for Small Farms:Alligator Production Review", "Gator Maters: Florida farmers find lucrative business mating alligators", Why the Gulf Coast needs more big alligators, Central African slender-snouted crocodile (, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=American_alligator&oldid=992112356, Native American cuisine of the Southeastern Woodlands, Articles with dead external links from December 2017, Articles with permanently dead external links, Articles with dead external links from July 2017, Articles with dead external links from June 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Approximate range of American alligator in the United States. Unusually in these regions, reptiles and amphibians were the most important nonpiscivore prey, mostly turtles and water snakes. The problem is that alligators live only as far north as northeastern North Carolina. A breathtaking video from a North Carolina swamp park shows how alligators survive frigid temperatures by freezing in place.  Large bellowing "choruses" of American alligators during the breeding season are commonly initiated by females and perpetuated by males. , American alligators are found in the wild in the Southeastern United States, from the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia and North Carolina, south to Everglades National Park in Florida, and west to the southern tip of Texas, as well as the northern border region of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. The American alligator is capable of biting through a turtle's shell or a moderately sized mammal bone. Juveniles have small, needle-like teeth that become much more robust and narrow snouts that become more broad as the individuals develop. , Recently, a population of Burmese pythons became established in Everglades National Park. The American alligator is the official state reptile of Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi. , American alligators are less vulnerable to cold than American crocodiles. read more. Adult American alligators can growl, hiss, or cough to threaten others and declare territory. There are two different types of alligator, and they vary in size. Young are born with yellow bands around their bodies and are protected by their mother for up to one year.. 7. The American alligator is a relatively large species of crocodilian.  American alligators have broad snouts, especially in captive individuals. Alligator hides bring good prices and hides in the 6- to 7-ft range have sold for $300 each. Fossils identical to the existing American alligator are found throughout the Pleistocene, from 2.5 million to 11.7 thousand years ago.  American alligators are highly sensitive to changes in the hydrology, salinity, and productivity of their ecosystems; all are factors that are expected to change with Everglades restoration. During summer, males still preferred open water, while females remained in the swamps to construct their nests and lay their eggs. Sounds ranged from 50 to 1200 Hz.  The largest American alligator scientifically verified in Florida for the period from 1977 to 1993 was reportedly 4.23 m (13 ft 11 in) and weighed 473 kg (1,043 lb), although another specimen (size estimated from skull) may have measured 4.54 m (14 ft 11 in).  Males are known to use infrasound during mating bellows. In May 2006, American alligators killed three Floridians in less than a week. , The teeth of the American alligator are designed to grip prey, but cannot rip or chew flesh like teeth of some other predators (such as canids and felids), and depend on their gizzard, instead, to masticate their food.  However, the full genome, published in 2014, suggests that the alligator evolved much more slowly than mammals and birds..  As American alligators grow and develop, the morphology of their teeth and jaws change significantly. , Both the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and state wildlife agencies in the South contributed to the American alligator's recovery. This differs from Nile crocodiles, which lay their eggs in pits.  American alligator bites are serious injuries due to the reptile's sheer bite force and risk of infection.  The American alligator can perform specific vocalizations to declare territory, signal distress, threaten competitors, and locate suitable mates. Alligator holes retain water during the dry season and provide a refuge for aquatic organisms, which survive the dry season by seeking refuge in alligator holes, so are a source of future populations. , In 2013, American alligators and other crocodilians were reported to also eat fruit. This behavior has qualified the American alligator to be considered a keystone species. When the young begin to hatch — their "yelping" calls can sometimes even be heard just before hatching commences — the mother quickly digs them out and carries them to the water in her mouth, as some other crocodilian species are known to do. After the female lays her 20 to 50 white eggs, about the size of a goose egg, she covers them with more vegetation, which heats as it decays, helping to keep the eggs warm. Killed by Max Touchet, a game warden on Marsh Island following an attempted live capture.  Given that female American alligators have relatively higher survival rates at an early age and a large percentage of given populations consists of immature or young breeding American alligators, relatively few large mature males of the expected mature length of 3.4 m (11 ft 2 in) or more are typically seen.  The market for alligator meat is growing, and about 300,000 pounds (140,000 kg) of meat are produced annually.  Mother American alligators eventually become more aggressive towards their young, which encourages them to disperse.  Only nine fatal attacks occurred in the United States throughout the 1970s–1990s, but American alligators killed 12 people between 2001 and 2007. , During the 19th and 20th centuries, larger males reaching 5 to 6 m (16 ft 5 in to 19 ft 8 in) have been reported. Anyway, yeah, North Carolina is as far north as they go, Eastern Texas is as far west as they go.  The female remains near the nest throughout the 65-day incubation period, protecting it from intruders. These American alligators are extremely rare and almost impossible to find in the wild. See you on the water. , The teeth number 74–80. The sprawling of American alligators and other crocodylians is not similar to that of salamanders and lizards, being similar to walking. States began monitoring their American alligator populations to ensure that they would continue to grow. In mature males, most specimens grow up to about 3.4 m (11 ft 2 in) in length, and weigh up to 360 kg (790 lb), while in females, the mature size is normally around 2.6 m (8 ft 6 in), with a body weight up to 91 kg (201 lb). Even with medical treatment, an American alligator bite may still result in a fatal infection.. American alligators are apex predators and consume fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. , The diet of adult American alligators from central Florida lakes was dominated by fish, highly opportunistically based upon local availability.  Some of these locations appear to be relatively recent introductions, with often small but reproductive populations. Those eggs hatched at a temperature of 93 °F (34 °C) or more become males, while those at a temperature of 86 °F (30 °C ) or lower become female. Since hunting and trapping preferentially take the large American alligators that are the most important in eating nutria, some changes in harvesting may be needed to capitalize on their ability to control nutria. The alligator uses its powerful tail to propel itself through water.  In 2016, a Miocene (about 23 to 5.3 Mya) fossil skull of an alligator was found at Marion County, Florida. They are grouped in the family Alligatoridae with the caimans. (22.7 kg). Members of this superfamily first arose in the late Cretaceous, about 100–65 million years ago (Mya). , They inhabit swamps, streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes. Similar to many other reptiles that range expansively into temperate zones, American alligators from the northern end of their range, such as southern Arkansas, Alabama, and northern North Carolina, tend to reach smaller sizes. , Adult American alligators held the record as having the strongest laboratory-measured bite of any living animal, measured at up to 13,172 N (1,343.2 kgf; 2,961 lbf). Usually, terrestrial hunting occurs on nights with warm temperatures. There is some debate about about them having an historical range into southeastern Virginia. Most of North Carolina's alligators are found in its southeastern corner.  When hunting terrestrial prey, American alligators may also ambush them from the edge of the water by grabbing them and pulling the prey into the water, the preferred method of predation of larger crocodiles. Generally speaking, crocodiles are larger than alligators, yet size will vary from one species to another.Dwarf crocodiles for instance, will barely reach 1 m (3.3 feet). ", "Climbing behaviour in extant crocodilians", "American Alligator Ecology and Monitoring for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan", "Characterization of Natural and Artificial Alligator Holes", 10.1656/1528-7092(2004)003[0583:CONAAA]2.0.CO;2, WEC203/UW230: Living with Alligators: A Florida Reality, "Crocodiles are cleverer than previously thought: Some crocodiles use lures to hunt their prey", "Alligators Attack and Eat Sharks, Study Confirms". They are opportunists and their diet is determined largely by both their size and age and the size and availability of prey. 2 years ago.  Although American alligators have been listed as predators of West Indian manatees, very little evidence exists of such predation. , American alligators are capable of killing humans, but fatal attacks are fairly rare. American alligators occasionally prey on large mammals, such as deer, but usually do so when fish and smaller prey levels go down. In 2018, several sightings of animals that had moved north into West Tennessee were confirmed. Such incidents usually involve a panther trying to cross a waterway or coming down to a swamp or river to get a drink.  In Newnans Lake, Florida, adult males averaged 73.2 kg (161 lb) in weight and 2.47 m (8 ft 1 in) in length, while adult females averaged 55.1 kg (121 lb) and measured 2.22 m (7 ft 3 in). , When on land, an American alligator moves either by sprawling or walking, the latter involving the reptile lifting its belly off the ground. Best Answers.  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