American Alligator

Alligator Mississippiensis

Animals of North America Back
American alligators live in swamps and wetlands in the south eastern U.S. and are what is known as a “keystone species”. This means that without the alligator, many other species of animal in that ecosystem would not be able to survive. Bull (large male) alligators dig out a home called a “gator hole” during the dry season. These gator holes are the only bodies of freshwater during times of drought and many species rely on them to survive. They provide animals with freshwater, and also bring prey right to the alligators doorstep.

American alligators are distinguished from crocodiles by a broad snout, dark color, and a bottom row of teeth that cannot be seen when the mouth is closed. These animals have up to 80 teeth with a bite pressure of over 2,500 lbs per square inch!


Fish, small mammals, turtles, birds and apple snails
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