A Life to LIve
1. American alligators have been observed using lures to hunt birds. They balance sticks and branches on their heads, attracting birds looking for nesting material.
2. Alligators are ecosystem engineers. Alligators play an important role in their wetland ecosystems by creating small ponds known as alligator holes. Alligator holes retain water during the dry season and provide habitats for other animals.
3. Alligators are carnivorous but recently reported to also eat fruit such as wild grapes, elderberries, and citrus fruits directly from trees. Alligators may help spread the seeds of these fruits throughout their habitats.
4. The temperature at which the eggs develop determines their sex. Eggs exposed to temperatures above 93°F (34 °C) become males, while those at 86 °F (30 °C) become females. Intermediate temperatures produce both sexes.
5. Alligator courtship is sophisticated. At the start of the spring breeding season, males bellow to attract females. The bellows have an infrasonic component that can cause the surface of the water around the male to ripple and dance. Other courtship rituals include head-slapping on the water’s surface, snout and back rubbing, and blowing bubbles.
6 large individuals bite down with 13,172 Newton’s or 2960 pounds–of force, one of the most powerful bites ever recorded for a living animal.
7. Serum in American alligator blood is incredibly effective at combating bacteria and viruses, meaning that even alligators that lose limbs in mucky swamps often avoid infection.
8 Alligators mate in June. Males may fertilize several females in one mating season.