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Alligator Facts and Gator Myths

Updated on August 9, 2017

Golfing Buddies

Baby alligators in a golf course lake.
Baby alligators in a golf course lake.

Sharing Our Lakes

Here in southern USA, we have to share our lakes and rivers. Snapping turtles, manatees, snakes, and alligators, .....all can be found enjoying the sunshine.

Alligators are often see basking in the sun at golf courses. My husband and son both work as golf caddies, and frequently see them on the course.  Last summer they were particularly abundant.  We had to stop our dogs from swimming in the lake near our house, an alligator had taken up residence there.  For the most part, they just want to be left alone. If their numbers become too great, they are relocated to a wildlife area.

In this hub I will try to separate some alligator facts from alligator fiction.

Warning Sign at Laura Walker State Park

Sign warning campers of gators in the lake.
Sign warning campers of gators in the lake.

Swim At Your Own Risk

Facts About Alligators

  • In the United States, alligators are found predominantly in the southeastern states. They can also be found in Southern Texas. Sometimes they migrate to more northern states. (Found a hub about gators in NY sewers.)
  • Alligators are members of the crocodile family, but they do not usually live together.
  • Alligators thrive in fresh water, and brackish (mixture of salt and fresh) water environments.
  • The largest adult alligators can weigh 1000 lbs. They can grow to 18 feet in length. (1)
  • An alligator can live 50 to 70 years.
  • Alligators can be distinguished from crocodiles by their snouts. Alligators have a rounded snout, crocodiles have narrow, pointed snouts.(2)
  • Female alligators lay their on marshy shorelines (like those found on some golf courses). They lay up to 60 eggs at a time, but only one out of a 100 survives to adulthood. (3)

Gator Myths

  • Alligators are slow, I could run from one. WRONG - They can actually run short distances up to 20 miles an hour.
  • You can tell an alligator's age by how big it is. WRONG - Even experts have a very difficult telling how old a gator is.
  • Gator eggs are specifically male or female when laid. WRONG - The temperature of the nest determines whether the babies are male or female. Warmth produces males, Cold- females. (4)
  • Gators are almost extinct. WRONG - Alligators have multiplied in recent years. They are still listed as endangered.
  • Gators are the official reptile of Texas. WRONG- They are the official reptile of Florida. (5)

Alligators Feeding

Alligators As Pets?

When I was a child, I had an alligator as a pet. There was a time when almost any animal could be bought at a roadside souvenir shop. Monkeys, alligators, snakes, snapping turtles....all could be bought in the same shops with the pecan rolls, and the miniature orange trees. These were the same shops that had chickens in cages that danced.

Of course, there were no instructions with my pet alligator. He lived in a cardboard box, and I fed him dog food. He actually lived for about a year, and grew quite a bit. What would have happened if he had lived to become a six foot gator?

"Pets" like this used to be let loose in ponds and canals. Is it any wonder these creatures finally got outlawed as pets?

Florida Gators

A markeruniversity of florida -
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32603, USA
get directions

Home of the Florida GATORS.

References

1. Wikipedia - Alligators

2. National Park Conservation Association - Alligators

3. Ask.com - How many eggs do alligators lay?

4. Smithsonian National Zoo fact sheet.

5. Smithsonian national Zoo fact sheet.

Comments

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    • susansisk profile image
      Author

      susansisk 2 years ago from Georgia, USA

      No thanks! I don't eat gators.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      Eat that gator before he eats you!

    • profile image

      Lybrah 4 years ago

      Very interesting article. I thoroughly enjoyed the bit about the gator myths. Ideal for those who live in Florida.

    • susansisk profile image
      Author

      susansisk 6 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Thanks for reading. This hub was fun to write.

    • RandomLife profile image

      RandomLife 6 years ago from Nashville TN

      I enjoyed reading your hub! Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      mike sisk 6 years ago

      Very useful and informative as we move into spring and become more active outside