Alligator mississippiensis

A large adult American alligator’s weight is approximately 360 kg and can grow to around 4.0 m long. The easiest way to distinguish an alligator from a crocodile is by looking at the teeth. The large fourth tooth in the lower jaw of an alligator fits into a socket in the upper jaw and is not visible when the mouth is closed. This does not happen in crocodiles.


American alligators are found from the southern Virginia-North Carolina border, along the Atlantic coast to Florida and along the Gulf of Mexico as far west as the Rio Grande in Texas.


They are usually found in freshwater swamps, marshes, rivers, lakes, and occasionally, smaller bodies of water.


Alligators are basically carnivores. They eat fish, turtles, snakes, and small mammals. When they are young they feed on insects, snails, and small fish.

Social Interaction

Young alligators are generally a social group. This method of group living is associated with greater protection from predators. Adults do not display such close-knit bonds, however they do tend to associate loosely in social groups. When forced to live in tighter areas because of drought they tend to ignore each other.

Conservation Status