American Alligator

Most Feared Predator of the American Swamps

The American alligator is a relic from long-forgotten times. That alone makes it quite remarkable to see. But encountering an alligator is also impressive due to this creature's enormous row of teeth. And the fact that they are not exactly scared of humans. The American alligator lives in the entire southern part of the United States. Your chances of seeing them, from a distance, are good.

This creature is universally feared. These alligators can grow to about 3 to 4 metres long, though nearly 6-metre-long ones have been spotted. They eat just about everything and will even attack humans given the opportunity. Of all crocodile species in the world, they are the most northern living.

Their official English name is American alligator, but they are also often referred as the common alligator. Or simply gator. The Latin name is alligator mississippiensis. Hence, our name for it is actually mississippi alligator, although that name is seldom used.

How Big Does an American Alligator Get?

The alligator measures about three to four metres in length, though there are known instances where they've grown as long as six metres. You can tell them apart from a crocodile by their snouts, which are less pointy. In the US you can find many of them, as for the crocodiles, not so much. Remember to keep your distance, they can be a touch unpredictable at times.

How Dangerous is an Alligator?

The chances of an adult being attacked by an alligator are pretty slim. We are simply too big and scary for them. However, there have been cases of alligators attacking babies and dogs, for example.

It can get dangerous if a mother alligator has a nest full of young ones. She will defend them by staging various bluff charges, where she'll suddenly dart towards you. She might even bang her tough snout against your canoe or kayak, which could potentially tip you over.

Difference between Alligator and Crocodile?

You can recognise them by their broad heads, as a crocodile's is much more narrow. Also, their teeth don't jut out from their mouths, unlike crocodiles.

Best Locations to See the American Alligator