There are two species of Alligator in the world, the American alligator and the Chinese alligator. You can probably guess where they’re found based on their names but something interesting to note is that besides the locations of their namesake, alligators don’t live anywhere else in the world.
This is a smaller range compared to their Crocodile cousins. Alligators are not crocodiles even though they look pretty similar. Alligators usually have a broader snout and when they close their mouths only the top teeth show while closed mouth crocodiles show off the bottom and top teeth, of course, this isn’t always a surefire way to determine a croc from a gator because jaw deformities can occur besides how close are you actually willing to put your face to an alligator’s mouth.
Chinese alligators are typically smaller than American alligators reaching lengths of about six feet on average American alligators average ten feet though they have been observed at lengths of almost twenty feet Chinese alligators don’t usually weigh more than 80 pounds while American alligators can reach a thousand pounds. They typically weigh somewhere around 200 pounds besides size differences. They are a little different from one another.
Chinese alligators have a bony plate at the top of their eyes that American alligators lack also the snout of a Chinese alligator swoops upward a bit more than an American alligator. Perhaps one of their largest disparities, however, is their population while American alligators have faced their fair share of threats, in fact, it used to be way more common to see much larger, American alligators but due to hunting for leather larger individuals are rare.
Chinese alligators seem to have drawn the short straw in the population pool it’s guessed that at this point there are millions of alligators natively living in America but it’s also believed that there are fewer than 200 alligators living wildly in China land development has had a huge impact on their numbers in the wild. Though thankfully reintroduction efforts are underway with reintroduced individuals actually producing their own nests at this point yay for alligator babies.
Speaking of alligator babies breeding and these reptiles occur seasonally in the springtime as the weather is warming up mama Gators will build nests they’re eggs of which they’re typically around 30 though this can vary depending on the species and size of the alligator. Alligator moms are that unlike many reptiles they will actually guard their nests during the 10 weeks the eggs develop and even help the babies to hatch yes even though they have some of the strongest jaws in the animal kingdom.
They have enough control of that power to help break open the eggs of their young without hurting the baby inside talk about great power and responsibility young alligators will usually stay with their mother for their first few years of life and she’ll do what she can to help protect them by the time. They reach about five years of age they’re ready to have little Gator babies of their own.
- Alligators can live in the wild for fifty years and might be more longer in captivity.
- They’re opportunistic eaters and usually try to catch meals, they can eat in one bite. American alligators eat insects, crabs, fish, frogs, rodents, snakes, raccoons, turtles, and even deer.
- Chinese alligators eat snails, crustaceans, insects, fish, shellfish, and even birds and rodents from time to time. They live in slow-moving rivers, swamps, and streams.
Chinese & American Alligator
Chinese alligators have adapted to living in ditches and ponds of agricultural land. They can’t stay in saltwater for very long because they don’t have salt glands. Since they are cold-blooded and thus do not produce their own body heat during colder months. They will enter a state kind of like hibernation called brumation. They’ll dig a burrow in preparation for this hibernation-like period and stay there until the weather becomes warm.
North America is the only place in the world where both alligators and crocodiles can be found better watch your step next time you’re in a swamp it’s also believed by some that Chinese alligators were the inspiration behind Chinese dragons and in fact their name in Chinese means dragon.