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Alligators: Fun Facts

Updated on November 24, 2019
Virginia Allain profile image

Birds and wildlife fascinate me. I enjoy observing them and photographing them wherever I go. I share what I learn here.

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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.

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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

Source
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.

Places to See Alligators

  • Gatorland | Orlando Family Attraction | Adventure Theme Park | Orlando, Florida

    Founded by the late Owen Godwin in 1949, Gatorland is a 110-acre alligator theme park and wildlife preserve, combining Old Florida charm with exciting, new exhibits and entertainment.

  • Alligator Adventure | Reptile Capital of the World!

    At Alligator Adventure you'll find yourself face to face with nature's fiercest and most beautiful animals. Located adjacent to Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach, one of South Carolina's most outstanding tourist attractions, Alligator Adventure

  • Everglades Alligator Farm - Park Info

    Everglades Alligator Farm, one of Homestead's busiest attractions draws tourist and camera crews from all over the world. This privately owned attraction is a real working alligator farm.

  • Boggy Creek Airboat Rides

    Search the thrilling swamp for wildlife including the intimidating Florida alligator through the Central Florida Everglades on Coast Guard approved airboat.

  • St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park and Crocodile Crossing Zip Line

    Founded in 1893, the St. Augustine Alligator Farm is one of Florida's oldest zoological attractions. For over a century, it has entertained millions of visitors, lured by the awesome presence of captive reptiles.

  • gatorcountry365

    Welcome to Gator Rescue, home of alligator rescuer and conservationist, Gary Saurage; Star of CMT's Gator 911 television show. Click on the highlighted dates on the calendar to see what's happening next for Gator Country.

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?

You can see some in Florida.

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

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. It was hugely popular in my preschool storytime at the library. There's another good one called Zack's Alligator. Also, look for There's an Alligator Under My Bed.

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

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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 Green Alligator Plush, Stuffed Animal, Plush Toy, Gifts For Kids, Cuddlekins, 23"
Wild Republic Green Alligator Plush, Stuffed Animal, Plush Toy, Gifts For Kids, Cuddlekins, 23"
Normally you don't think of alligators as cuddly but this plush gator is quite huggable. This was a wonderful prop for our storytimes at the library with an alligator theme. The kids loved it.
 

You Can't Play Fetch with an Alligator

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.

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What to Name Your Alligator

If you see an alligator in a lake near you, give it a name. We call ours Al E. Gator.

There are some great alligator names in children's storybooks too. What would you call your alligator?

I Don't Recommend Having a Pet Alligator, But Here Is More about That

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

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Virginia Allain

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