American Alligators and Saltwater Crocodiles

Video highlights from Animal Encounters

Learn some facts about these fascinating reptiles

American Alligator
Scientific name:  Alligator mississippiensis


•    Females construct a mound nest of vegetation and lay 30-50 eggs. Incubation of eggs takes 63-84 days, depending on temperature, and young hatch in late August or early September.
•    Alligators are widely distributed throughout the southeastern United States. Maximum adult size rarely exceeds 4.5 m for males and 3.0 m for females.
•    Juveniles, which are on the menu for dozens of predators, including birds, raccoons, bobcats, and even other alligators, usually stay with their mothers for about two years.
•    Exceptionally large males can reach a weight of nearly half a ton or 1,000 pounds.
•    Alligators have between 74 and 80 teeth in their mouth at a time. As teeth wear down they are replaced. An alligator can go through 2,000 to 3,000 teeth in a lifetime.

Saltwater Crocodile (also called Estuarine Crocodile)
Scientific name: Crocodylus porosus


•    The Saltwater or Estuarine crocodile is the largest of all crocodilians. The normal maximum size of adult males is 5 to 6 m long, with some individuals reaching 7 m.
•    Saltwater crocodiles tend to eat even in the cooler times of the year, and anything that can be overpowered may be taken, including livestock (horses, cattle, buffalo, pigs) and even humans.
•    Saltwater crocodiles are distributed from Sri Lanka and the east coast of India in the west, to the Caroline Islands in the east, from Burma and Southeast Asia in the north, to Australia in the south.
•    Average life span in the wild: 70 years.
•    After mating, the female makes a large nesting mound of vegetation, mud and soil, away from the water's edge and lays between 40 and 62 hard-shelled eggs. The temperature of the mound determines the sex of the crocodile. If less than 32 degrees Celsius the hatchling will be female, between 32 and 33 degrees Celsius it will be a male.

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