American Alligator

Scientific Name: Alligator Mississippiensis

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American Alligator, downloded 10/6/09


Habitat/ Location

The American Alligator lives in the southeastern United States, mostly in Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Mississippi. It lives near swamps, freshwater rivers, marshes, and lakes.
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Southeastern United States, downloded 10/6/09


Niche

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Crayfish, downloded 10/15/09

The American Alligator is a carnivore and eats mostly crayfish, snails, insects, aquatic spiders, crabs, frogs, turtles, snakes, birds, raccoons, otters, dear, and smaller alligators. The Alligator eats these animals by using their sharp teeth and strong jaws to break the bones of larger animals so that it can swallow it whole, and for smaller animals it just swallows it whole. They can also drag their pray under water so that they drown. The American Alligator weighs about 1000 pounds and is 10 to 15 feet long, but half of their body length is their tail. They can live anywhere from 35 to 50 years long. They like warm, humid weather. Alligators reproduce when they are about 7 to 12 years old. Every year In June or July, the female alligator lays 20 to 60 eggs, and the mother has to defend her nest for 65 days from predators. Alligators hibernate in the winter months. Alligators live by themselves but sometimes a few alligators will live in the same area, and help each other find food or keep warm.


Population Expansion


The American alligator could fill the niche of the American crocodile because they eat the same kind of food; birds, fish, frogs. Also they both need a warm climate. Both the alligator and the crocodile reproduce when they are about 8-10 years old. The crocodile is usually 15 feet long while that is usually the largest the alligator can get, so crocodile is a bit bigger. The American alligator lives in the southeast United States while the American crocodile lives in Flordia and Central America, but the areas are close to each other.


Species in Competition


Even though alligators were once going to be extinct, there are well over one million alligators currently in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and Georgia. While there are only 500 to 1200 crocodiles in Florida currently. It would probably take a while for alligators to take over the crocodiles niche because they would have to migrate to Central America. But once they have gotten to the crocodiles habitat it would not take them long to take over the crocodiles niche because they live in the same kind of areas, eat the same food, and reproduce the same way.


Bibliography


Britton, A. (n.d.). Alligator mississippiensis. In Crocodilian Species List
[Fact Sheet]. Retrieved October 15, 2009, from http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/
cnhc/csp_amis.htm

National Geographic. (n.d.). American Alligator Profile. In American Alligator.
Retrieved October 15, 2009, from http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/
animals/reptiles/american-alligator.html

Gibbons, W., Dr. (n.d.). American Alligator. In Alligators of Georgia and South
Carolina. Retrieved from http://www.uga.edu/srelherp/alligators/
allmis.htm

NCPA. (n.d.). American Alligator (Alligator Mississippiensis) . In National
Parks Conservation Association. Retrieved October 15, 2009, from
http://www.npca.org/marine_and_coastal/marine_wildlife/alligator.html


NCPA. (n.d.).American Crocodile (crocodylus acutus) . In National
Parks Conservation Association. Retrieved October 15, 2009, from
http://www.npca.org/marine_and_coastal/marine_wildlife/crocodile.html