American Alligator Information
We don't really handle alligators. They are more commonly handled by your state's fish & game commission. They often have agreements with private alligator trappers who will address an alligator issue if it is a real problem. But it's not
something that we have the licensing to handle. Sorry!
COMMON PROBLEMS: Alligators are on the rebound. The often live in suburban or even urban environments, in many lakes, ponds, canals, and so on. They are rarely encountered, but sometimes one will walk across land, or even
get stuck in a yard, as they try to move to a different waterway. The real concern for some people is a matter of safety. They fear an alligator attack on a pet or even person, by a large gator. Thus, they cause some of the following problems:
- Large alligator in a lake or pond, believed to be a potential safety threat to humans or pets. Generally, any alligator under 6' is harmless to pets, and under 8' harmless to humans, but one can never predict
the behavior of an animal, particularly during the late spring mating season, when they can become more aggressive.
- Alligator on land, potentially stuck behind a fence, under a car, in a swimming pool, etc.
- Actual documented aggressive alligator that has attacked people or pets. Such an animal should absolutely be addressed.
Alligators are reptiles and are native only to China and the United states. There are two species of alligators; the Chinese alligator and the American alligator. They are popularly described as the living fossils due to the fact that they have been in existence for over 200 million years now. American alligators can grow up to 17 feet and weigh around 1,000 pounds while Chinese alligators grow to about seven feet. They have up to 75 teeth in their jaw and are known to live for around 70 years.
Large alligators prefer to live alone while the smaller ones are found in groups, probably for protection reasons. They like eating small animals and generally a single bite is enough to kill the prey and eat their meal. Small alligators eat fish, snails, insects and worms. As they grow larger, they consume turtles, mammals, deer, reptiles and birds. They kill the larger sized animals by pulling then into the water and drowning their victims. Alligators are also known for their death roll which is the way they grab onto their prey and roll them over and over under the water until they drown. They only eat the amount of food that can be consumed in one go. So, if the prey is big enough, they bite the portion they are interested in for their meal and start spinning until that particular part of meat is detached from the prey’s body.
The muscles in alligators’ jaws that are used to actually close the jaw are immensely strong and can easily crush bones. However, muscles for opening the jaws are really weak and a human being can easily hold its lower and upper jaw together. Alligators are generally scared of humans and walk or swim away if a human approaches their area; unless they feel threatened.
The American alligators are found in the south east region of the United States. The state of Louisiana is known to have the maximum population of alligators. They live in freshwater areas such as rivers, ponds, lakes, marshes, swamps and wetlands. The Chinese alligators are found in the Yangtze River valley and are considered an endangered species. It is believed that only a few dozen are left in the wild. However, there are some in zoos.
Alligators become mature by the time they grow to six feet in length and usually are ready to mate in late spring. The females build a nest of vegetation for their eggs. The decomposition of vegetation provides heat which is helpful in hatching of the eggs. The sex of the offspring is finalized in seven to 21 days from the start of incubation and is dependent upon the temperature in the nest. If the temperature of the nest is less than 30 degree Celsius females are born while if it is above 34 degrees Celsius males are born. The females protect the nest, the eggs and the offspring for about a year after they are born. Baby alligators hatch from their shells by picking at it with their sharp front tooth.
Adult alligators are the biggest threat to offspring and around 50 percent of them are killed within the first year of their birth.
Diseases Alligators Carry
The only known disease that can be caused by alligators is Salmonellosis. It is an infection and is caused by the Salmonella bacteria present in alligators’ mouth and teeth. A healthy alligator is highly unlikely to carry the bacteria; however, it is very common in unhealthy alligators. It causes nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, rose spots and fatigue. The symptoms are more common in young children and adults and usually disappear within 12 to 72 hours.
Alligator Nuisance Concerns
Probably the only problem caused by alligators is injury and death to humans and pet animals. There have been a number of cases where pet animals were eaten and taken away by alligators. There are a very few cases where they attacked humans as well. Alligators, which are less than four feet in length, are scared of humans and are very unlikely to attack them. However, those over four feet can attack pets as well as humans.