Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Bit 'Bout 'Gators




An alligator is a crocodilian in the genus Alligator of the family Alligatoridae. The two living species are the American alligator (A. mississippiensis) and the Chinese alligator (A. sinensis). In addition, several extinct species of alligator are known from fossil remains. Alligators first appeared during the Oligocene epoch about 37 million years ago.
The name "alligator" is probably an anglicized form of el lagarto, the Spanish term for "the lizard", which early Spanish explorers and settlers in Florida called the alligator. Later English spellings of the name included allagarta and alagarto.

The American alligator, Alligator mississippiensi, is the largest reptile in North America. It has a large, dark (usually black), slightly rounded body and thick limbs.

American alligators are found in the wild in the southeastern United States, from Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia and North Carolina, south to Everglades National Park in Florida, and west to the southern tip of Texas. They are found in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma. They inhabit swamps, streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes.

Unlike the crocodile, the alligator has a broad head. The alligator uses its powerful tail to propel itself through water. The tail accounts for half the alligator's length. While alligators move very quickly in water, they are generally slow-moving on land. They can, however, move quickly for short distances.

The American alligator is considered an apex predator throughout its range. They are opportunists and their diet is determined largely by both the size and age of the alligator and the size and availability of prey. Most alligators will eat a wide variety of animals, including invertebrates, fish, birds, turtles, snakes, amphibians, and mammals.

Now you know more about 'gators than most people.

By the way, the Florida Gators are the intercollegiate sports teams that represent the University of Florida located in Gainesville, Florida.



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