alligatorPhoto Credit: Stolz, Gary M.

Alligator mississippiensis

Also Known As: American Alligator

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Size: Males are larger than females; length between 9 to 20 ft, weighing in at 150 to 1000 pounds.

Range: Eastern Texas up to North Carolina

Habitat: Swamps, marshes, wetlands, rivers, lakes; prefers freshwater to saltwater

Diet: Carnivorous; prefers small mammals, also frogs, birds and fishes

Breeding: April to May

Nesting: Females make their nest from mud, leaves and other organic material; females lay up between 20 to 60 eggs.


Warnings: Though rare, alligators have been known to attack and kill humans.

Description & Behavior
Large, thick, scaly, powerfully muscled stout body. Broad head with a long talk and a long powerful jaw with a broad, round snout. The front legs of the American Alligator has 5 toes while the back legs have only 4. Colors of the American Alligator range from olive to dark brown with a yellow or cream colored underside. Long powerful tail that is often used for defense.