Alligators are some of the oldest living creatures on our planet. Below, we list 23 bizarre and fun facts that we found about alligators.
1. Alligators have been living on the planet for millions of years and are often said to be living fossils.
2. There are two different species of alligators. One is the American alligator and the other is the Chinese alligator.
3. The American alligator lives in the South Eastern part of the United States, such as Florida and Louisiana.
4. The Chinese alligator lives in and around the Yangtze River; however, they are critically endangered and only very few remain in the wild.
5. Alligators are reptiles, and like reptiles, they are cold blooded.
6. Most alligator weigh around 1000 pounds, or 450 kilograms.
7. Alligators have an extremely powerful bite; however, the muscles that actually open the jaw are very weak. This is why a human can hold the jaws of an alligator shut with their hands.
8. Alligator eggs become male or female depending on the temperature that surrounds them. Males are born if the temperature is warmer and females are born if the temperature is cooler.
9. Alligators eat a wide range of animals, such as birds, fish, turtles and deer.
10. Alligators, like crocodiles, are part of the Crocodylia family.
11. Almost all alligators become sexually mature by the time they reach 7 feet in length, however, females can reach maturity at about 6 feet.
12. A male can take 8 to 12 years to reach these lengths while a female may take 10 to 15 years.
13. The name alligator comes from “El Legarto,” which is Spanish for “the lizard.” It was given this name by first explorers who came to Florida.
14. The American alligator is a lot larger than the Chinese alligator. The american alligator grows to be about 13 feet, or about 4 meters, in length and weighs 790 pounds, or 360 kilograms. The Chinese alligator grows to be 7 feet long, or about 2.1 meters.
15. The very first alligator appeared about 37 million years ago, during the Oligocene era.
16. Alligators breathe through what is known as “tidal breathing,” where air is drawn in through branched bronchi to dead end alveoli in the lungs, then it’s blown out the same way that it came in.
17. In order to do the “death roll,” the alligator has to flex is flat tail. If it can’t move its tail then it can’t start the death roll.
18. Very rarely, a white alligator will be born, which is due to either albionism or leucism. However, almost none of them last long in the wild.
19. Alligators prefer to live in freshwater but they can also live in saltwater.
20. Alligators make “gator holes” in wetlands, which is where they spend most of their time. These gator holes help increase the plant diversity and help provide homes for other animals during dry times.
21. The biggest and strongest alligator of both sexes will claim and defend the territory.
22. Even though they’re very slow, due to their heavy bodies, they’re known for short bursts of speed. They use to lunge at prey, grab them and drag them back into the water.
23. Despite being known as aggressive predators, they’re not naturally aggressive towards humans, and will move away if they’re approached.