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The American Alligator

The American Alligator in the Darien River


An Alligator is a crocodilian in the genus Alligator of the family Alligatoridae.
The name alligator is an anglicized form of the Spanish el lagarto (the lizard), the name by which early Spanish explorers and settlers in Florida called the alligator. There are two living alligator species: the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) and the Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis).

There are many adaptations for the American alligator. Baby alligators have an egg tooth that helps them get out of their egg during hatching time. They also have a muscular flat tail that propels them forward while they swim.

The alligator is notorious for its bone crushing bite. In addition, the alligator has been described as a 'living fossil from the age of reptiles, having survived on earth for 200 million years'.

An average, full-size American alligator's weight and length is 800 pounds (360 kg) and 13 feet (4.0 m) long, but can grow to 14.5 feet (4.4 m) long and weigh 1,032 pounds (468 kg). According to the Everglades National Park website, the largest alligator ever recorded in Florida was 17 feet 5 inches (5.3 m), although according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission web site, the Florida state record for length is a male, 14 feet 5/8 inches (4.28 m) from Lake Monroe in Seminole County. The Chinese alligator is smaller, rarely exceeding 7 feet (2.1 m) in length. Alligators have approximately 75 teeth.

The average lifespan of an Alligator is 50 years. A specimen named Muja has resided in the Belgrade Zoo in Serbia since 1937, making it at least 71 years old. Another specimen, Čabulītis, in Riga Zoo, Latvia, died in 2007 at more than 75 years of age.





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