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Alligators: Fun Facts

Updated on July 18, 2015

Alligators Are Fascinating

These toothy reptiles rule the swamp lands in Florida and along the Gulf Coast of the United States. I knew little about alligators before I moved to Florida. Now I have quite a bit of respect for the creatures. Actually alligators are pretty fascinating. Here's what I've learned from seven years of observing alligators in my backyard.

I've collected some fun facts about alligators for you to enjoy. Some information I've observed myself and other alligator facts are from nature sites. I've added lots of cute alligator graphics. If you see one you like, just click on it and it takes you to Zazzle where you can buy the alligator design on a t-shirt, poster, magnet or other product.

I have another page about baby alligators and one about killer alligators. If you're a big fan of alligators, check them out.

(photo by Virginia Allain)

Strange Things Found in Alligators' Stomachs

* plastic toy soldier

* plastic turtle toy

* golf balls

* a sandal

Mural at Gatorland in Kissimmee, Florida.
Mural at Gatorland in Kissimmee, Florida. | Source

My Photos from GatorWorld

Don't try this at home!
Don't try this at home!
The alligators are fairly sluggish on cooler winter days. This handler is trying to tempt one with some meat. CRAZY...
The alligators are fairly sluggish on cooler winter days. This handler is trying to tempt one with some meat. CRAZY...
I would name this one Big Brutus.
I would name this one Big Brutus.

My Visit to Gatorland

In February 2015, we visited Gatorland for the third time. I guess you can tell we love alligators. This is a great place to go when you are in the Orlando area.

They had all sizes of the creatures, from tiny babies that were small enough to hold in your hand and up to enormous ones that could probably swallow me in about 3 or 4 gulps. The visitors walk on raised boardwalks and have strong fences protecting them from the wildlife.

We watched the Gator Jumparoo show and later the Gator Wrestling. The fellows that perform in these shows are either pretty brave or just foolhardy. I'm not sure which.

There was an open train that circles the swamp area so you can see the animals in their natural habitat. Birds like egrets, storks and herons enjoyed the swamp life as well.

I took about 200 photos, but will just share a few here.

Where to See Alligators - Alligator Farms and Alligator Tourist Sites

Alligator Road Sign from All Posters
Alligator Road Sign from All Posters | Source

Did You Know There Are White Alligators?

A White Alligator at Gatorland in Florida

Taken February 2015. He almost looks fake, but I can assure you, he moved and is quite real.
Taken February 2015. He almost looks fake, but I can assure you, he moved and is quite real. | Source

Alligators Lay Eggs

They make a nest in late June and early July. The female lays 35 to 50 eggs. She guards the nest to protect it from raiding animals, humans and other alligators.

Picture of a Mother Alligator with a Nest

This is a mural at Gatorland. Notice the baby alligators that just hatched out.
This is a mural at Gatorland. Notice the baby alligators that just hatched out. | Source

True Books about Alligators (for Children) - Great Stuff on Amazon


Graphic from Zazzle: Never Insult An Alligator by ironydesign

Look for a book like this at the public library. If you want one for your own bookshelf, click on one of these to get it from Amazon.

Where does the name "alligator" come from?

Explorers called it "el lagarto" which is Spanish for the lizard.

Fun Stories about Alligators for Preschoolers and Early Readers - Great Books on Amazon

I used to read "Alligators All Around" in storytimes at the library. Kids loved it. Now there are even more stories with alligators in them. Read them all. Alligators just want to have fun.

Some of the stories that were popular were Alligators All Around by Maurice Sendak and also one called Zack's Alligator.

My Photo of an Alligator (taken with a Canon PowerShot SX20 IS)

My Photo of an Alligator (taken with a Canon PowerShot SX20 IS)
My Photo of an Alligator (taken with a Canon PowerShot SX20 IS)

Alligator Swimming Technique

I observed a small alligator in shallow water. It paddled with its feet to get going, then glided by moving the tail from side to side. While gliding, it kept its feet back and close to the body.

Alligator Swimming

In a picture like this, you can't see the legs or tail moving. The movement can be very slight and still propel the gator forward through the water.
In a picture like this, you can't see the legs or tail moving. The movement can be very slight and still propel the gator forward through the water. | Source

Have You Seen a Live Alligator?

Vote in the Poll

See results

Hug an Alligator

You'll find alligator toys to appeal to all age groups. There is even an alligator kite to fly on a windy day. This kind of toy fosters an interest in wildlife and nature.

Wild Republic Cuddlekins 15" Alligator
Wild Republic Cuddlekins 15" Alligator

Normally you don't think of alligators as cuddly but this plush gator is quite huggable.


You Can't Play Fetch with an Alligator

Alligator Stories for Older Kids - Great Stuff on Amazon


Graphic from Zazzle: Alligator by animalworld

Ask at the library for these books. Don't miss all the fascinating alligator stories.

How Alligators Eat

Small prey is swallowed whole (fish, birds, frogs). Larger things they shake into pieces or tear off bits to eat.

Alligator Feeding Time at Gatorland

These are the younger alligators. Maybe 2 years old. They are competing for some meat tossed into the pen for them.
These are the younger alligators. Maybe 2 years old. They are competing for some meat tossed into the pen for them. | Source

Photographing Alligators - Tips for You

I've taken quite a few alligator pictures in the eleven years that I've lived in Florida. Here are my tips for getting a good photo.

Be very careful. You don't want to get so involved in getting a photo that you risk getting attacked by an alligator. It's best to have someone keeping an eye on the alligator to warn you if it starts towards you.

Take one photo as soon as you see the alligator. You may not get a second chance as the gator is likely to zip into the water as you approach. Edge a little closer (but still from a distance) and take another.

Once I got a camera with zoom, my pictures of alligators improved and I was much safer while taking them.


Poster available from All Posters: American Alligator

Alligator Smiling

I don't know if alligators have a sense of humor, but this one sure looks like he is smiling.
I don't know if alligators have a sense of humor, but this one sure looks like he is smiling. | Source

© 2009 Virginia Allain

Are You a Fan of Alligators?

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    • skjk3318 lm profile image

      skjk3318 lm 4 years ago

      holy buckets, I don't know which creeps me out more, gators or snakes?

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Yep, got them swimming in my backyard, too. When they get 8' long or show signs of aggressiveness the rangers will come and haul them away.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      @heytoto: I'll check those out and may add them on to this page. Thanks!

    • heytoto profile image

      Karen Kolavalli 4 years ago from Lexington, Kentucky

      I think you'd really enjoy Thacher Hurd's picture book "Mama Don't Allow," featuring an alligator. And you should definitely give a listen to the audio performance of it by Tom Chapin, which won the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children (available on or

    • srsddn lm profile image

      srsddn lm 5 years ago

      Quite interesting info about alligators. Nice images.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      An alligator length in feet is the same distance of inches between it's nose to it's eyes....exmp if there is 6 inches between nose and eyes, it is a 6 ft gator from nose to tail

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Alligator eggs are laid unisex. Temperture changes created by depth in the nest determine if the babies will be boys or girls. 86 degrees produce girls, 91 degrees produce boys...temp inbetween the two produce either sex..turtles wil lay eggs in alligator nests. The are also laid unisex but the girls require hotter temp than the boy.

    • Morgannafay profile image

      Morgannafay 5 years ago

      OH I'm a huge fan of the Gators <3

      I've been to the alligator farm in Orlando, the St. Augustine, and the everglades alligator farm back in 98 and 99. We had so much fun, probably as much fun as we did at Disney! I think it was then that I too grew an appreciation for these guys, especially the little babies! D'awww. I adore that little sound they make too.

      I so enjoyed this page and it brought back some great memories! :)

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      That watermelon video was pretty wild! When I lived along the Gulf Coast, I had a few alligator encounters. I once stepped out of my truck in a wildlife refuge to photograph a bird and nearly stepped right into a wriggling mass of baby alligators. Thank heavens their mama was far enough away that I still have both of my legs today! Very scary experience. I have a lot of respect for alligators. Appreciated this article and your photos. As always, very nicely presented.

    • profile image

      jseven lm 5 years ago

      Great and interesting info. I am not interested into running into one for sure!

    • profile image

      momsfunny 5 years ago

      Interesting facts about alligators.

    • profile image

      RuralFloridaLiving 5 years ago

      Love 'em - as long as you keep your distance, they're great.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 5 years ago

      Baack for a blessing :) My fave fun fact about alligators is that they sleep when they are turned upside down :)

    • biminibahamas profile image

      biminibahamas 5 years ago

      Alligators are special indeed and they really deserve respect when you come upon one. They can sprint pretty darn fast!

    • FloridaDino profile image

      FloridaDino 5 years ago

      love gators! still a novelty to me (living in the UK) but when I visit Florida, love to see 'em. Nice lens!

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      I have a respectful fear of these mighty beasts. I don't think I'd like to live where they might be a problem. Liked reading about them though! Angel blessed.

    • awesomedealz4u profile image

      awesomedealz4u 5 years ago

      I'm terrified of alligators, but I loved reading your lens anyway :)

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      I am not an alligator fan. They scare me! But you certainly have presented a lot of information, stories and humor about them. Maybe I just respect them. Angel Blessed for the amount of content shown here, the personal content and humor.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 5 years ago

      Great lens on this amazing creature. We have their cousins the salt and fresh water crocodiles. Only the salties are dangerous apparently but I stay well away. Blessed and featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012. Hugs

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      Since moving to Florida, I have a greater appreciation for the alligator.

    • elizabethknows lm profile image

      elizabethknows lm 5 years ago

      not one of my fav animals but hey nice pictures for sure!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      yes, I'am a fan, but from afar off! nice lens.

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 5 years ago

      I think that watermelon Youtube says it all. I'm staying away!

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 5 years ago

      We went to Gatorland in Florida many years ago because I was a fan of alligators and wanted to see them up close. It was quite an experience.

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 5 years ago

      Nice lens.

    • profile image

      JohnGreenstone 5 years ago

      As long as they are not in my home, I'm happy. I don't want them near my house alive or as a boots or purse.

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

      i enjoy the company of GATORade.

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

      see you later, alligator! very informative lens and honestly, i would not want to meet one.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 6 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Great lens. I love photographing nature but alligators are probably one species I'll stay away for a long time. You're braver than I am!

    • Showpup LM profile image

      Showpup LM 6 years ago

      My husband collects alligators. He's threatened many times to put live ones in our big pond. NO THANK YOU!

    • bluewren56 lm profile image

      bluewren56 lm 6 years ago

      Not sure I want one for a pet though... Great lens!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I HAVE to like alligators. I'm the mom of a Florida 'Gator' graduate! :)

    • profile image

      Karbyn 6 years ago

      This is a great lens, as usual, and was very entertaining to read. I especially liked the alligator eating the watermelon - great visual lesson about why you should not taunt or mess with alligators! And, while I'm here, I want to say many thanks to Vallain for all she has done to help me (and so many others) get started in Squidoo. She's the best!

    • profile image

      PhillipConte 6 years ago

      I enjoyed reading this lens. It was very informative and amusing. Of course being anFSU Grad, the Gator has a special place in the heart of the Seminole (lol)

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 6 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      an awesome lens. love your informative alligator facts and pictures. really enjoyed my visit. thanks. ~blessed~

    • rewards4life info profile image

      rewards4life info 6 years ago

      Some amazing alligator pictures and so many interesting facts, the sandal found in the stomach of one is a bit worrying. Loved the video of the alligator smashing a watermelon so much power in it's jaws I wouldn't like to be on the receiving end. Cool lens.

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 6 years ago from Redcar

      Just love this alligator lense.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      That is some awesome gators

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      @ZenandChic: y they are harmless

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 6 years ago from Canada

      I had no idea that you lived in gator country. I think that would make me just a wee bit nervous.

    • phoenix arizona f profile image

      phoenix arizona f 6 years ago

      Great pictures.

    • Cinnamonbite profile image

      Cinnamonbite 6 years ago

      I live across from Lake Jesup so gators don't bother me. I'm more worried about the big rattlers. But then, a friend posted a video of 2 gators fighting on the golf course and now I think I'll respect these fellas a little bit more.

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 6 years ago

      Alligators scare me! Powerful jaws!

    • profile image

      miaponzo 6 years ago

      When I was in college, they brought this alligator guy to do a show.. I learned that alligators go unconscious (fall asleep) when they are turned upside down :) That was soo cool. :)

    • profile image

      Vacation-In-My-Head 6 years ago

      I love alligators, they are a magnificent creature, I could sit and watch them for hours. I'm lensrolling to Florida Alligators :-)

    • WayfarersGuide profile image

      WayfarersGuide 6 years ago

      I'm featuring your lens on my lens about the Colorado Gators. See:

    • profile image

      KellyMariaClark 6 years ago

      I LOVE alligators! I went to an alligator farm years ago (the one in St. Augustine, I think). My family was bored to tears but I had the best time... Great lens!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 6 years ago

      I'm highly respectful of alligators and all things toothy! Great lens!

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago


    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      and I thought I was the only crazy person who loved and collected alligator stuff! I have quite a few of those old postcards - they are so cool.

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 6 years ago from Iowa

      Really interesting but the photos of gators pulling carts with small children fascinating and disturbing. :) Really a great lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Alligators are to be respected, they can have their space and I'll keep mine. This is a very a great resource on Alligators. Congratulations on the Purple Star! ~ Great photos!

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 6 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Congrats on your Purple Star! No gators in Canada but we saw a few in the Everglades on a day trip to Miami. They sure are fascinating reptiles. Thanks for your wonderful info. PS Be careful around them when taking photos. :)

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      Great lens - had to have a Purple Star! Nice one.

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 6 years ago

      Wonderful! I guess alligators are to me like bald eagles would be to you (I have bald eagles in my back yard -:) Congrats on your purple star!!

    • profile image

      AshAffiches 6 years ago

      Good lens! I have one on alligators as well :)

    • rwoman profile image

      rwoman 7 years ago

      I don't know about a fan but I am fascinated by them! Awesome lens.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 7 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      I used to live in Florida, myself (in the Boca Raton/West Palm Beach area) and I remember a park I used to go to (but don't remember the name) where I'd often see lots of baby 'gators but never any moms or dads. (I'm sure they were around, but I never saw them.) I DID see a HUGE alligator down there once, though, when I accompanied a friend who was playing golf. I went up on the green to pull the pin for him, and his face suddenly went white. He slowly pointed and I slowly turned my head to see a 15-footer sitting there, on the green right behind me. I get the willies just thinking about that.

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 7 years ago from Massachusetts

      I was pretty floored when I visited Florida and alligators were everywhere. I never knew there were so many, especially in the Alligator Alley Everglades region.

    • NanLT profile image

      Nan 7 years ago from London, UK

      I think alligators are fascinating creatures. Your photographs are lovely.

      Blessed by an angel

    • puzzlerpaige profile image

      puzzlerpaige 7 years ago

      Yes, I am a fan of alligators as long as I see them from afar! We live in Florida too, on a canal. We have NOT yet seen alligators in it, but others have. Sooooo no swimming out there for me :-). Wonderful gator fun and products.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

      Interesting lens on alligators

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 7 years ago

      Well done lens on an interesting topic. The sign of the alligators crossing the road is quite funny. Only in Florida I guess!

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 7 years ago from Royalton

      I never cared much for alligators until I moved to Florida. Now after visiting the Everglades often I have come to enjoy studying them.

      Lensrolled to Alligator Pie

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 7 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I wouldn't call myself a fan, but I did go to an alligator/crocodile park near Knott's Berry Farm in California's Orange County about 35 years ago, and I was fascinated by the demonstrations they had where they showed us the reptiles in action. I certainly do respect them.

    • Lisa-Marie-Mary profile image

      Lisa-Marie-Mary 7 years ago

      I love this lens! Tons of great Alligator info - awesome!! :)

    • HorseAndPony LM profile image

      HorseAndPony LM 7 years ago

      I love Alligators. What a great lens. Your images are amazing. Thanks for sharing these great facts.

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 7 years ago from West Virginia

      I enjoyed reading your interesting facts about alligators, especially the swimming technique. Thanks for a fine lens.

    • Louis Wery profile image

      Louis Wery 7 years ago from Sarasota, Florida USA

      I enjoyed reading your alligator facts. Here's a new one: alligators breath like birds! They certainly are fascinating creatures. We like watching them (from a a safe distance) at Myakka River State Park, which is located near Sarasota, Florida.

    • vhenry profile image

      vhenry 8 years ago

      I LOVE alligators! I'll stand for hours waiting for one to move. Thanks for visiting my alligator lens and lens rolling it. You've got a great lens here and I enjoyed reading all the information you have here. I was giggling over your comment that "You can't play catch with an alligator"!

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      There were a couple of little alligators in a pond behind my school for awhile, but animal control removed them. The little ones are cute but the big ones scare me to death.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 8 years ago from Central Florida

      @inkserotica: I've accidentally walked within 3 or 4 feet on one several times while trying to find my golf ball along the lake.

      Usually they splash into the water, making their escape. If it's a really big one and he doesn't move away, I start backing up very slowly and keep an eye on it.

    • profile image

      inkserotica 8 years ago

      Have you had any experiences with alligators? Would love to read about them if you have! :)