American Alligator

A close-up photo of an alligator covered in moss floating in a swamp at the Audubon Zoo.

Animal's Behavior
Look carefully – that log you think you see in the swamp may be an American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)! You may hear an alligator bellow during the spring during mating season. Alligators are known to live in proximity to people.

Eating Habits
Any living creature near the water is fair game for alligators, including fish, deer, birds, raccoons – and sometimes dogs, cats, and humans.

Alligators are found across the southeastern United States.

Conservation Efforts
Once low in numbers, today alligator populations are plentiful and regulated through hunting seasons.

Animal Facts
Alligators cruise through the water at about a mile an hour. They can be a lot faster over short distances when pursuing prey. They can stay underwater for hours. They grow up to 17 feet and can live as long as 50 years.