The Intrepid American Alligator -- Final

This discussion topic submitted by Jake Saylor ( at 8:26 PM on 6/11/99. Additions were last made on Saturday, June 12, 1999.

The American Alligator is quite a versatile animal, surviving relatively unchanged for approximately 65 million years. Through my topic presentation, I will try to provide you with an explanation of what makes this walking dinosaur
the survivor it is!

Outline...The American Alligator
I. Introduction
-habitat and distribution
-alligators vs other crocodilians (salinity included)
-evolutionary history - decended from archosaurs of the Triassic to Cretaceous periods. One of 21 species still alive today!
II. Predator/Prey Relationships
-size/age dependent
juveniles...snails, frogs, insects, small fish, etc.
maturing, turtles, snakes, waterfowl, smaller and larger mammals
-other considerations such as carrion and cannibalism!

III. Tactical Strategy
-Opportunistic predators with an "old-standby" ambush style attack that maximizes their success potential with a short strike following some slow-moving body positioning which has contributed to their fame.

IV. Reproduction
-Size/age dependent...usually about 6 feet long and 10-12 years
-April-May courtship with unusual reptilian roars
-late June-July usually 20 to 50 eggs laid in carefully constructed and guarded mounds
-hatchlings in August-September, incubation temperature determines their sex

V. Importance and Endangerment
-keystone species of many ecosystems?
-listed as a "threatened species" by government due to habitat destruction, leather and meat harvesting, as well as resemblance to endangered american crocodile
1.1940's - beginning of population decline
2.40's and 50's the imposition of hunting restrictions slowed their decline
3.50's and 60's - illegal poaching leads to further decline
4.70's tougher poaching laws and lack of booming retail market virtually eliminates large scale poaching
5.74 to present shows a progressive increase in population numbers
-controlled wild harvesting issue

5) Reader's Digest: North American Wildlife

Looking forward to meeting you all!!!

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It is 12:57:27 PM on Sunday, May 31, 2020. Last Update: Saturday, June 12, 1999