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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 of 4 and 4.5m in length.

Alligators are generally a very docile species, especially in captivity. They are capable of killing humans but attacks are very rare and usually unlucky. 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 American alligator occupies all aquatic habitats. Their range stretches along the South East of America from Florida to Louisiana and along the Mississippi River to Texas. They may be 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 the size of the animal. While alligators 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 the alligator grows 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 scratches 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 British Bulldog 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 a very quiet boy who is very tolerant of keepers. Barney happily shares his home with one of the Fang Sisters.

Have a go at this! At feeding time he gets very excited and will charge around his pond in anticipation.


British Bulldog

Benny the American Alligator

Sex: Male

British Bulldog is an American alligator who was born here at Australia Zoo in 2009. His parents are Barney and Fang 2.  He is a handsome and friendly little chap, who is one of our select alligators that participates in  "alligator encounters". 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.


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 beside Barney and  the Fang Sisters but has a temperament all her own. Daisy is very territorial of her space and 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 were born in the 1960's, around the same time as Daisy and Barney. Both sisters tend to be very quiet, except around nesting time when they guard their nests with gusto.


Hank

Hank the American Alligator

Sex: Male

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 some growing to do!  Hank and his brothers bask together on the lawn around their pond, just waiting for a keeper to bring them a tasty morsel or two.