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Florida Alligator Information Page ...

Central Florida Alligator facts brought to you by Tom and Jerrys Airboat Adventures. When you take an airboat ride with Turtleback Airboat Adventures you will see lots of alligators and wildlife.

Here you will get the information in advance before starting your alligator sightseeing tours.  Alligators are a big part of the Florida ecotourism so bring your camera and get some pictures of gators in their natural habitat.

SCIENTIFIC NAME : Alligator Mississippiensis

OTHER NAMES : Alligator, Gator, Florida Gator, Florida Alligator

RANGE :The range of the American Alligator extends south from coastal swamps in North and South Carolina to the tip of southern Florida, then west along the Gulf Coast to the mouth of the Rio Grande. Alligators range inland throughout the southern coastal flatland.

HABITAT: Alligators live in freshwater lakes, rivers, and swamps. They occasionally live in brackish water.

DESCRIPTION: The average size for an adult female American alligator is 8.2 feet (2.6 m), and the average size for a male is 11.2 feet (3.4 m). Exceptionally large males can reach a weight of nearly half a ton or 1,000 pounds.

Both males and females have an "armored" body with a muscular flat tail. The skin on the back is armored with embedded bony plates called Buttons. They have four short legs; the front legs have five toes while the back legs have four toes.

Alligators have a long wide snout with upward facing nostrils at the end; this lets them breathe while the rest of the body is underwater. The young can be distinguished from adults by the bright yellow stripes on the tail; adults have dark stripes on the tail

SIZE: The growth rate of alligators varies with food availability and temperature. At the northern limits of its range, or when food is scarce, alligators grow slowly. In Florida, where food is abundant, young alligators can grow about one foot (30 centimeters) per year with the greatest growth in the first year.

The weight of an alligator in relation to its length can vary greatly. One 11 foot 6 inch (3.5 meter) alligator weighed 591 pounds (265 kilograms), whereas another alligator measuring 12 feet 1 inch (3.7 meters) weighed only 460 pounds (209 kilograms).

On land alligators can lumber along dragging their tails, or they can walk on their toes with heels of the hind feet and most of the tail well off the ground. Using this "high walk" alligators can run up to 30 miles per hour (38 kHz) for short distances!

FLORIDA RECORD: 17 feet 5 inches long

Food value of the alligator is excellent. The tail is sought after as a delicacy in the south. The hide is also valued in the textile industry for making boots, purses, wallets and other items.