The American Alligator

Exclusive to Louisiana and Florida, the American Alligator inhabits areas in and around bodies of fresh water. Lakes, marshes, rivers and swamps provide the ideal environmental conditions for these animals. As a part of the crocodilian species, American Alligators are predators characterized by unique physical features. The epidermal exoskeleton of an alligator consists of hardened scales covering the majority of the animal’s body. These scales act as armor against other animals. Fully-grown adults typically weigh anywhere from 790 to 990 lbs. (358 to 449 kg). Scientists are unable to measure the average lifespan of an adult American Alligator. Mating season begins in late spring and commences with males performing their courtship display. Behaviors include performing “bellowing choruses” or loud head-slaps to attract a mate. Females typically start building nests made of vegetation during the summer months. As the vegetation slowly decomposes, the heat produced incubates the eggs. The temperature influences the sex of the offspring.