- The alligator is often described as “a living fossil” because it has changed little in the past 65 million years.
- Alligators can have up to 80 teeth at any given time. New teeth grow to replace worn ones and throughout a lifetime an alligator can have between 2,000 and 3,000 teeth.
- Alligators are omnivores and opportunistic feeders who ambush their prey rather than chase it.
- Alligators can reach 30 miles per hour in a short burst, however cannot maintain a high speed.
- Female alligators construct nests made of vegetation and mud. They can lay over 50 eggs in a single season.
- As soon as they are born, alligator hatchlings can go and catch their own food.
- American alligator hatchlings are around 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) long. They stay with their mothers for two years.
- The temperature of the nest determines the sex of a newborn alligator. Females are produced when the temperatures are below 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius), and males are produced at temperatures above 91.4 F (33 C). A temperature of 87.8 F (31 C) will produce an even number of males and females.
- Although seriously endangered in the 1950’s the American alligator’s numbers have grown since they came under legal protection.