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REPTILES - AMERICAN ALLIGATOR

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT AUSTRALIA ZOO'S AMAZING ANIMALS!

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(Alligator mississipiensis)

Crocodilians are grouped into one of three families. Crocodylidae, Alligatoridae and Gavialidae. The American alligator belongs to the sub family Alligatorinae which includes five species of caiman and one other alligator, the Chinese Alligator. American Alligators are a fairly large species with the males reaching sizes between 4 and 4.5m in length.

They are generally a very docile species especially in captivity. They are capable of killing humans but attacks are very rare and usually unlucky. In most cases the person has startled the animal by unknowingly jumping on it or something freakish like that. Adult Alligators are usually uniform black in coloration and have a very flat rounded snout. Their eyes sit high on their head and their ears are a slit behind their eyes. They have large teeth that are surprisingly blunt, designed for puncturing rather than chewing.

Habitat

Found only in the United States of America, the Alligator occupies all aquatic habitats. Their habitat stretches along the South East of America from Florida to Louisiana and along the Mississippi River to Texas. The Alligator is found in both natural and man-made freshwater lakes, ponds, rivers, and wetland areas. Alligators will also dig caves in the riverbanks to maintain a wallow during the dry season.

Diet

The diet of the Alligator depends on its size. While they are very young their diet consists mostly of insects that have fallen into the water. As their reactions develop they will start to hunt small fish and shrimps as well. As they grow the prey they target also becomes larger. During their juvenile years they will eat crayfish, fish, mice, rats, reptiles, birds and other small mammals. Mature Alligators are large enough to eat animals like cows and deer.

Breeding

The American Alligator is probably surviving better in the wild than any other Crocodillian. They will inhabit any fresh water system they can find, even ponds in the middle of housing estates and can very occasionally be seen in the ocean. However, as they do not possess salt glands alligators must return to fresh water regularly to rid their system of salt and to drink.

When it comes to breeding alligators are proving to be very successful. The female scratch up a large mound of compost in which she deposits about 30 to 50 eggs depending on her size. The eggs will take about 65 to 85 days to incubate and an interesting fact is the temperature inside the nest will determine the sex of the offspring.

Display Status

On DisplayOur Amazing American-alligator(s) are currently on display

American Alligator Profiles

Barney Benny Daisy Fang Sisters Hank

Threat Level

Least Concern

Least Concern


American Alligator Profiles

Barney

Barney

Sex: Male

Length: 3.3m (11ft)m (10.56ft)

Weight: 250kg (551lb)kg (550lbs)

Barney is a male American Alligator who came to Australia Zoo in 2000. He is about 3.5m (10.5 feet) long and weights between 250 and 300 kilograms. He is a very quiet boy who is very tolerant of keepers. Have a go at this! At feeding time he gets very excited and will charge around his pond in anticipation.


Benny

Benny the American Alligator

Benny is an American alligator who was born here at Australia Zoo in 2006. His parents are Barney and Fang 2 and he is one of Hank's brothers.  He is a friendly little chap, who enjoys going down to the photo studio and meeting the patrons here at the Zoo.


Daisy

Daisy

Sex: Female

Length: 2.4m (8ft)m (7.68ft)

Weight: 120kg (264.5lb)kg (264lbs)

Daisy is Australia Zoo's alligator with attitude! She lives with Barney and is around the same age and weight as the Fang Sisters but has a temperament all her own. Daisy rarely tolerates maintenance on her enclosure. She too will defend her nest with a ferocity matched by no other alligator.


Fang Sisters

Fang2

Sex: Female

Length: 2.4m (8ft)m (7.68ft)

Weight: 120kg (264.5lb)kg (264lbs)

These lovely girls are 45 years old and are around 2.5m (8 feet) in length. Both sisters tend to be very quiet, except around nesting time when they guard their nests with gusto.


Hank

Hank the American Alligator

Hank is an American Alligator who was born here at Australia Zoo in February 2006. He is the biggest of the bunch and by the time he is an adult he will be weighing in at over 250kg so he has got lots of growing to do!  He has a very quiet nature and enjoys meeting patrons who visit the zoo. Hank is one of our select alligators that participates in  "alligator encounters", so keep and eye out for him when here at the zoo for your chance to get up close and personal with the little fella with a massive personality.