Alligator Facts and Gator Myths
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
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)
- 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 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?
Recipe for Alligator Balls
- Alligator Balls Recipe
An alligator balls recipe using a mixture of alligator meat, egg, onions, and other ingredients, to form alligator balls..
Wild Florida Gator Recipes
- 7 ways to cook with gator
If wild recipes are your thing, you may be interested in what Wild Florida has to say about the different ways to cook with gator.
St. Augustine Alligator Farm
Home of the Florida GATORS.
New York Sewer Gators
- Alligators In New York Sewers
8 Foot Alligator Discovered In New York Sewer System In October 08 On October 12th 2008 a 8 ft Alligator that had been reported for months was finally caught and removed from the New York Sewer System near...
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.