* Threatened or Endangered
American Alligator *
: Alligator mississippiensis
: Coastal southeastern North Carolina to the Florida Keys and west to southern Texas, north to southeastern Oklahoma and southern Arkansas
: Fish, small mammals, birds, turtles, snakes, frogs and invertebrates
: 6 to 19 feet
: Least Concern
Once hunted to near extinction, alligators have made a remarkable comeback with the help of protection through the Endangered Species Act and commercial breeding.
Though many times thought of as “monsters” and overly aggressive, alligators are usually quite calm, especially compared to their aggressive cousin, the crocodile. Alligators are one of nature’s best conservation tools, digging deep holes which provide water for the wildlife community. The large 4th tooth on the bottom jaw fits into a socket in the upper jaw and is not visible when the jaw is closed. In crocodiles, this tooth is visible when the jaw is closed.