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American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) in Myakka River State Park, Florida

American alligator

Alligator mississippiensis

Today's Research for Tomorrow's Oceans

Species Type:


Common Name(s):

American alligator


Alligators can grow to be 12 feet (3.6 meters) long in length and weight up to 1,000 pounds (450 kilograms). It is typical for males to be slightly bigger in size than female alligators.


Alligators are carnivores eating a high protein, all meat diet. Their sharp teeth and strong jaws allow them to capture fish, frogs, turtles, birds and other mammals. Alligator's are nocturnal hunters, meaning they feed at night.

Range & Habitat:

Preferring a slow pace environment, American alligators tend to hang out in freshwater rivers, swamps, marshes and lakes.They can be found along the coastal wetlands of southeast America with their range extending anywhere from North Carolina to eastern Texas and southern Florida.


American alligators are endemic to the United States, meaning they don’t exist anywhere else in the world. More specifically, they can be found in coastal wetlands anywhere from North Carolina to southern Florida. Long powerful tails and webbed feet make them strong swimmers. As cold-blooded creatures, alligators rely on their surroundings to provide warmth, like basking in the sun along the shore or digging holes in mud to trap heat. The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) lists the American alligator as Least Concern on their Red List of Threatened Species.