Our Florida Alligator
Alligators on River Bank
by John White


The Endangered Reptiles of Florida



The American Alligator
Alligator mississippiensis


Alligator is allapattah in the Seminole language.

Crocodilians, which first appeared about 80 million

years ago during the Cretaceous period, are the closest

relative of the bird, the only living Dinosaur.


The American Alligator is one of two Crocodilians Native

to the U.S., the other being the American Crocodile and

Florida is the only place in the U.S. that they call home.


Florida female Alligators will reach up to about 9 feet,

while males can reach a maximum of nearly 15 feet.

They can weigh up to a maximum of about 1,000 pounds

and live to be between 30-40 years old.

A Florida Alligator
An American Alligator
Photo credit: Robbie & Staff @ SRWMD


Like all other Reptiles, Alligators must bask in

the sun to regulate their body temperatures.


Unlike the Crocodile, who is shy and prefers to be alone,

the Alligator is more aggressive, especially during mating and

nesting periods when they can become hostile, as would

any animal, towards those they consider to be a threat.


Although Government Officials claim that Alligators

are in little danger of extinction in Florida, they must be,

as they sell permits to hunt them every year,

their environment still remains challenging.


The most critical factor in Alligator, indeed in the mortality of

most animal species, has become has become the levels of

pollution in the waters where they live and breed.

A Florida Alligator
American Alligator in the Florida Everglades
 Photo credit: USGS/SOFIA


An environmental concern rarely mentioned in Florida,

is the detrimental affect of fertilizers on our water supply.

Agricultural pollution affects not only the Reptiles,

Alligators, Crocodiles, Turtles and Lizards,

but Frogs, Toads and Humans as well.

When we pollute our waters with pesticides and chemicals,

it can take as long as 10,000 years to repair the damage done.


An example is Lake Apopka in Central Florida, which has

become highly polluted by the unchecked runoff of

fertilizers used by local farmers in the area for many years.

This water contamination is harming not only the Alligators,

but the farmers themselves and other animals as well.

Hormone changes, "anomalies", have been observed in both

males and females which have changed their reproductive

organs and will ultimately alter the future of the species.


Places to learn more:


Environmental Health News

Watching Florida's Water


Florida Environment Radio

The Perils of Alligator Mating Season


Florida Power and Light

American Alligators



Alligator Facts



American Alligators


MSN Encarta



NASA/Kennedy Space Center

Alligators and Rocketships


National Geographic

The American Alligator


National Parks Conservation Association

American Alligator


Sea World

American Alligator


University of Florida

The American Alligator


University of Michigan Museum of Zoology

Alligator Information



Walking with the Alligators

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Educating Visitors About Florida's Wildlife Since May 31, 2008

Last edited January 12, 2023

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