Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gator Facts

Admire me from a distance. 

1. The average number of eggs in a Florida alligator nest is 35-50, but only about 15 of these will hatch...and only about 6 of those will live to be 1-year old.

2. Baby alligators are eaten by raccoons, large bass, birds...and of course, bigger alligators.

3. Female gators rarely reach 9' in length, while males average a bit over 11'. The largest Florida alligator (a male) is listed at 14'-5/8"...the heaviest one (also a male) weighed in at 1,043 lbs and was 13'10-1/2"in length.

4. Alligators in the wild, like the Everglades (or your nearest Florida park) can live to be 50 years old.

5. Florida alligators are also unbelievably fast for 10-15 yards. They have reached speeds of 20 mph chasing down prey. (That would be like playing tag with Usain Bolt.)

6. It has been recorded that a gator can outrun a horse for 30 feet. Unless you can move like Secretariat, keep your distance.

7. Although alligators are classified as reptiles, their closest relatives are actually...BIRDS, which are direct descendants of dinosaurs. (See if your science teacher knows that one!)

Photo by Joshua Kirton

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