Alligators

It’s courting season for the alligators in Gulf State Park which means that the gators are restless and are traveling around looking for mates. With the water level being so low in the ponds, lakes and swamps in the park, you might encounter an alligator scurrying across the trail looking for water, a mate, or both! When it comes to alligators, did you know that:

*There are only two species of alligators? The American Alligator and it’s smaller cousin the Chinese Alligator.

*The American Alligator’s range is from coastal North Carolina all the way to east Texas and includes the entire states of Louisiana and Florida? Alligators can also be found as far north as southern Arkansas.

*An adult male alligator can reach a length of 16 ft. and weigh over 1000 pounds while a female can get 10 ft. long?

*Alligators have 5 claws on each front foot (except for Lefty) and only four on each rear foot?

*American Alligators have the strongest measured bite of any living animal? Crocs have yet to be tested…humh, wonder why?

*Alligators can remain underwater for hours if not active.

*Louisiana has the most alligators in the US with a population of 1.5 million. Florida comes in second with 1.3 million.

*An alligator will eat fish, birds, turtles, snakes, mammals (they love dogs), and amphibians. They have been known to dine on raccoons, deer and wild hogs too.

*Alligators reach breeding maturity around 8-13 years so Lefty is at least 10 years old I suppose.

* Alligators can live an average of 30 years in the wild and have been known to live over 60 years.

* Surprisingly, alligators don’t eat as much as you might expect. A 100 pound dog will outeat an 800 pound alligator in a year.

* Never feed an alligator. A human fed gator will grow accustomed to being fed and will come to associate humans with food.

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