American alligator : Alligator mississippiensis

Kingdom : Animalia
   Phylum : Chordata
          Class : Reptilia
               Order : Crocodilia
                    Family : 
                         Genus : Alligator
                              Species : mississippiensis 


Alligators live primarily in freshwater swamps and marshes, but also in rivers, lakes and smaller bodies of water. They can tolerate a reasonable degree of salinity for short periods of time, being occasionally found in brackish water around mangrove swamps, although they lack the buccal salt-secreting glands present in crocodiles. Construction of burrows is well documented in this species. The burrows are used for shelter and hibernation when the seasonal temperatures fall. Even outside their burrows, they can tolerate limited periods of freezing conditions. They modify their habitat through the creation of 'alligator holes', which provide a refuge for other animals during dry periods.
Alligator, Photo by David Byres These are excavated using both snout and tail. Once these dry out, however, the alligator crosses land in order to find another body of water.Alligators near human habitation are often seen crossing roads, entering suburbs and finding shelter in swimming pools during the drier months.

American alligators’ range includes the southeastern United States: Alabama, Arkansas, North & South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas.


Adult males typically reach lengths of 4 to 4.5 meters, although there are several unconfirmed reports of larger 5 m and even 6 m adults having been found or killed in the 19th and 20th centuries. Females reach lengths of just under 3 m. The snout is characteristically broad, although this varies slightly between populations.