Alligators on River Bank
by John White
The Endangered Reptiles
The American Alligator
Alligator is allapattah in the Seminole language.
Crocodilians, which first appeared about 80 million
years ago during the Cretaceous period, are the
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
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.
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
nesting periods when they can become hostile, as would
any animal, towards those they consider to be a
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
The most critical factor in Alligator,
indeed in the mortality of
most animal species, has become has become the
pollution in the waters where they live and breed.
American Alligator in the Florida Everglades
Photo credit: USGS/SOFIA
An environmental concern rarely mentioned in Florida,
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,
become highly polluted by the unchecked runoff
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
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
NASA/Kennedy Space Center
Alligators and Rocketships
The American Alligator
National Parks Conservation
University of Florida
University of Michigan Museum of Zoology
Walking with the Alligators
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