Alligator Wetlands

Alligators are not only the largest reptiles living on the Georgia barrier islands; they are also the top predators in both freshwater and salt-water ecosystems in and around those islands.  

 

The American alligator is a conservation success story of an endangered animal saved from extinction and now thriving.  State and federal protections, habitat preservation efforts, and reduced demand for alligator products have improved the species' wild population to more than one million and growing today.  This success story has the potential to become threatened if we don’t monitor for climate changes.  All reptiles of the order Crocodilia have the same pattern of producing females at extreme temperatures and males at intermediate temperatures.  Since rising global temperatures could change gender ratios, we could see an alligator population in the future that lacks the ability to reproduce.

They might have a reputation for being tough, but alligators are amongst the most attentive parents in the reptile world, remaining with their young for as long as three years. They are also highly intelligent, and have been known to use tools.

American Alligator

Animal Facts

SCIENTIFIC NAME

Alligator mississippiensis

RANGE

Inhabits freshwater wetlands, such as marshes and cypress swamps from Texas to southeastern and coastal North Carolina

COOL ANIMAL FACT

The alligator is often described as "a living fossil" as it has evolved very little over the past 65 million years.

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