What States Have Alligators

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The alligator is an unofficial mascot of the state and is, in fact, the official mascot of the University of Florida. But are there only alligators in Florida, or are there crocodiles too? Florida hosts both alligators and crocodiles. Alligators are mostly found in fresh water, but they do occasionally make their way to inlets and areas where fresh water and salt water meet. On the other hand, crocodiles are mostly found in brackish water near the coasts in South Florida.

But what exactly is the difference between alligators and crocodiles? Both are big toothy reptiles with reputations for lurking in the water, but they are distinctive and unique creatures beyond the superficial similarities. Read on to learn more. Are alligators and crocodiles even related? Both belong to the taxonomic order Crocodylia but are in different families. Crocodiles and caiman are members of the Crocodylidae family, while alligators belong to the family Alligatordae.

Alligators in the United States belong to the species A. Mississippiensis and are cousins of the Yangtze river alligators A. So what are some of the differences between alligators and crocodiles? The easiest way to discern a gator from a croc is by examining the snout. Note: please examine snouts at a safe distance, ideally through binoculars. Both of these animals are potentially hazardous to human beings up close. Alligators boast a long, rounded, U-shaped snout.

Are they the same size, or is one of these reptiles bigger than the other? As it happens, both alligators and crocodiles are huge. Alligators can grow to more than 15 feet in length and weigh an average of pounds.

The largest gator on record in Florida weighed 1, pounds, more than half a ton! But, gargantuan as gators might get, crocodiles grow larger and can weigh as much as 2, pounds. Where in Florida can one find these beasts? Alligators can be found anywhere in Florida, but they prefer freshwater environments.

In fact, a rule of thumb in Florida is that any body of freshwater — a retention pond, a lake , a water hazard on the golf course — may contain an alligator.

Floridians have been known to find alligators in storm drains, drainage canals, and swimming pools. If you want to see an alligator in their natural habitat, local nature preserves are great places to look. What should you do if you encounter an alligator somewhere? If you ever find a gator in Florida, do not approach, touch, or otherwise bother the alligator. If you are in a park or preserve, admire it from a distance and leave it alone.

However, if it is in or around your residence, vehicle, workplace, or another public spot, call law enforcement to have the gator removed by animal control. They are beautiful, but hazardous neighbors.

How about crocodiles? Crocodiles are not as common in Florida as alligators. American Crocodiles prefer brackish or salty water and like to linger in coastal swamps, mangrove stands , coves, and ponds. However, they have occasionally been spotted in fresher waters thanks to the extensive and interconnected network of canals in South Florida. Phenomenal Florida Fun Fact: Crocodiles and alligators were built to survive prolonged periods of hardship: these amazing reptiles can go up to two years without eating.

If you should encounter a crocodile in Florida, follow the same rules as with an alligator and leave it alone. If it is being a nuisance, e. Be vigilant and do not attempt to scare, cajole, or otherwise interact with crocodiles. Crocodiles and alligators are ambush predators. An ambush predator means that they hunt by stalking prey and waiting for an opportunity to snatch it. Usually, they will lurk in the water and slowly approach a vulnerable prey animal. Then, when the time is right, they will snatch it, crush it with their powerful jaws, and death roll it.

Once the prey is deceased, the reptiles will swallow large chunks of it whole and then go relax. Crocs and alligators eat about once a week. What do these modern megafauna like to eat? In short, anything they can fit in their mouths. Thus, they will eat turtles, fish, other crocodiles and alligators, birds, small mammals, and even deer. Alligators and crocodiles will eat pets and small children and have been known to kill adult humans.

Therefore, they are extremely hazardous and should be treated with respect and caution. Crocodiles are considered more dangerous than alligators. For all their bristle and brawn, alligators are usually not aggressive toward human beings and tend to avoid or ignore people. Generally, they flee from humans rather than attacking. However, alligator attacks on humans are often associated with human behavior.

Widely considered to be some of the most dangerous animals on the planet, crocodiles are known to be more aggressive than alligators. Some people have reported unprovoked crocodile attacks in places like Australia, but luckily for us Floridians, the crocodile species found in the United States are timider than their cousins and also tend not to attack human beings unless provoked. Once upon a time, alligators were hunted almost to extinction.

The loss of any animal from an ecosystem is a tragedy, no less so with alligators. The species was placed on the endangered species list and made a remarkable comeback. In , they were removed from the endangered species list. They are now considered threatened, but under regulations, they can be hunted, and their eggs can be gathered.

To see an alligator in Florida, you just need to go outside. Most Florida cities have a park, stream, river, pond, or lake that has alligators. Sometimes you can see them sunning or basking. You can find them lurking by looking for long, floating objects that resemble logs in the water.

You can also see them at many wildlife encounter parks. Like the alligator, the American Crocodile is considered threatened.

For some time, crocodile hides were considered highly valuable, which drove a lucrative croc-hunting business in Florida. One of the best ways to see a crocodile is to find a local zoo or marine park with a captive specimen. Places like Gatorland and Croc Encounters let you experience these remarkable animals in a safe way.

However, to see a crocodile in the wild, head to the Everglades and hike into the mangroves. This option is an activity that requires careful planning and can be hazardous for a lot of reasons. Even though alligators and crocodiles live in Florida, they are not that much of a threat to the average Floridian. Unprovoked attacks on human beings by alligators and crocodiles are pretty rare. On average, only about one person every three years is killed by a gator or croc in Florida.

So your specific risk of being injured by one of these creatures is pretty low. Following those simple guidelines is a great way to make your risk of an alligator- or crocodile-induced injury almost zero. When walking a dog or small animal near a body of water, keep your pet leashed. Small children should be held firmly by the hand when walking near fresh water.

Alligators and crocodiles both tend to avoid humans, so make noise while walking to alert them to your presence. If you have a swimming pool, install a screen house to keep intrusive reptiles out of your oasis. If you participate in freshwater sports, e. Alligators and crocodiles are awesome creatures, and both of them call the Sunshine State home. Crocs strongly prefer the heat and environment of South Florida, and gators can be found anywhere in the state. These animals are emblematic of Florida in many ways: hardy and tough, yet beautiful and serene in their own way.

Hi, I’m Cindy. Welcome to Phenomenal Florida. This website is about Florida, a widely diverse and beautiful state, a place that everyone should visit at least once! As you read the posts on this blog, I hope you will gain a greater appreciation of the Sunshine State.



– What states do not have alligators or crocodiles


They also have a broad, U shaped snout, but their snout is typically shorter than that of an American alligator. Both alligators and crocodiles have large, powerful jaws with many teeth. However, crocodiles have a much toothier grin, and when their mouth is closed you can see both their top and bottom teeth protruding from their mouth.

While both alligators and crocodiles have the ability to grow to be huge, generally speaking, adult crocodiles are larger than alligators by several feet. Adult American alligators grow to be 8. American crocodiles grow to lengths of 9 — 15 feet.

Nile crocodiles grow to be a similar size to the American Crocodile. However, the Saltwater crocodile out measures all other crocodiles, and is actually the largest living reptile. These modern day dinosaurs can grow to incredible lengths of 10 — 20 feet. That being said, these are average lengths of wild alligators and crocodiles.

When kept in captivity, crocodilians are known to grow several feet larger! While you certainly never want to get close enough to experience the temperament of a crocodile or alligator, alligators are known for being a little bit more laid back than their relatives.

Both crocs and gators are fierce predators that are capable of causing bodily harm or death to humans. However most of the crocodilian attacks on humans in the world are caused by crocodiles like the Saltwater crocodile or the Nile crocodile. Alligators are more likely to go their own way or stay put when approached. Crocodiles will also flee, but are more likely to react defensively if they are cornered.

When agitated, crocodiles and alligators may let out a deep growl or a loud hiss. If you look closely at a picture of an alligator or crocodile, you may notice small, black dots covering their jaws.

These are not just specks, but are actually integumentary sensory organs or ISOs. ISOs give crocodilians almost like a sixth sense. These small organs help to pick up minute pressure changes in the water around them, which can help them detect potential prey near them.

While the jaws of a crocodile or an alligator are undoubtedly very powerful, crocodiles have a bit of an edge when it comes to bite force. Saltwater crocs have among the strongest bite force of any animal with a whopping 3, pounds per square inch.

While American alligators can slam their jaws shut using 2, pounds per square inch of force. To put things in perspective, lions have a bite force of approximately 1, pounds per square inch. Crocodilians are associated with warmer temperatures, with all species found in the tropics and sub-tropics. However, Alligators are able to withstand cooler temperatures than crocodiles.

Alligators can be found as far north in the United States as North Carolina whereas American crocodiles are only found in the very Southern tip of Florida and central and South America where the temps do not drop nearly as low.

In fact, Alligators can even survive sudden cold snaps when ponds and lakes freeze over. Alligators will brumate, which is the reptilian version of hibernation. During brumation, Alligators will submerge their bodies in the water, sticking their snout up so that their nostrils are out of the water. In these cold snaps, Alligators have actually been seen with their snouts protruding from an icy pond. Both alligators and crocodiles look like modern day dinosaurs.

Crocodilian ancestors have been dated back to approximately million years ago. However, our modern day crocodiles can be traced back to the late cretaceous period, approximately 70 million years ago. Their slightly younger relatives, the alligatoridae family including alligators and caiman is traced back to the early Tertiary or late cretaceous period- about million years ago. There has been little evolution of crocodilians over the past several million years and they still strongly resemble their prehistoric predecessors.

When it comes to the number of species, the crocodiles have outnumbered the alligators. There are only two species of alligators, as previously mentioned. However, there are 14 different species of crocodiles. But the alligators do have six different species of very close relatives; the caiman. In addition to alligators and crocodiles, the crocodilian order also includes several other species such as caiman and gharials.

They are closely related to alligators and crocodiles and some may even be confused for their crocodilian relatives. Caiman are more closely related to Alligators than some of their other relatives. What makes caiman unique is their size as the average caiman is only between six to eight feet long at maturity.

However, the Black Caiman can grow to be as large as 13 feet long. They are associated with freshwater bodies and can be found in marshes, swamps, rivers and lakes.

The Spectacled caiman has also been introduced to South Florida where it is thought to have established and sustained a small population in the Greater Everglades. Perhaps the strangest looking of the crocodilians are the Gharials.

There are only two species on Gharials, the Gharial and the False Gharial. What makes these species distinct from other crocodilians is their incredibly long and narrow snout. They almost look like something out of a cartoon with their slender yet toothy grin. These crocodilians are exclusively found in freshwater bodies, mainly rivers and streams. Their long jaws are perfect for catching smaller prey items like fish, as this is their main source of food.

The gharials lack the same jaw strength as their crocodilian cousins and therefore have a more limited diet. Generally, no. But South Florida is a very unique place in the sense that it is actually the only place where you can find both Alligators and Crocodiles in the same place!

They can be found sharing canals and even shorelines. However, everywhere else, you will only find alligators or crocodiles. Despite this, alligators and crocodiles are capable of being kept together in captivity in the right conditions. Both alligators and crocodiles have the potential to be dangerous to humans.

Not only do crocs and gators have an incredible bite, but they use their strength and agility in the water to grab their victim, take hold and continuously roll them in the water- also known as the death roll. Neither crocs or gators are an animal you want to mess with!

That being said, crocodiles are responsible for the most crocodilian attacks in the world. An estimated thousand people per year are thought to be killed by crocodiles, with the Saltwater and Nile crocodiles responsible for the most deaths.

In contrast, alligators are rarely associated with fatal human attacks. On average, there may be approximately one deadly alligator attack per year.

Nearly half of the species of alligators or crocodiles are listed as critically endangered or vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN redlist.

Crocodilians face numerous threats that make them vulnerable, such as being poached and hunted for their skin, killed out of fear or retaliation, habitat destruction and degradation, and climate change. The American crocodile is listed as endangered, while the American alligator, Nile Crocodile and Saltwater crocodile are all listed as least concern.

Despite their differences, alligators and crocodiles share similar diets. They are opportunistic hunters that ambush their prey. In reality, there are more similarities between alligators and crocodiles than differences. However, as we discussed in this article, there are several differences that distinguish a crocodile from an alligator. The experts, who believe the animal is a former pet, drained the pond and caught the gator in the shallow water left over.

This reptile was found in the woods of Staten Island. The 3-foot-long animal was safely removed from the woods and taken to an animal care center. Authorities are unsure how the gator go into the woods, but believe the reptile could be a former pet. July in Bayport, New York: A Long Island man discovered a baby alligator paddling around in his backyard pool during a heatwave.

He is unsure how the animal ended up in New York, but did his part to care for the out of place critter. After removing the alligator from his pool and placing it in a tank, he called his local SPCA. The SPCA was able to arrange a transfer for the baby gator.

The reptile is now living at a nature preserve in the South. It took nearly a week to remove the reptile from the park , which was partially shut down during the search for the animal. The alligator was safely removed with help from a Florida alligator expert Chicago brought in to advise on the odd situation.

An alligator shocked a Clearwater resident when the animal broke into their home by crashing through a window.

November in Kansas City, Missouri: Police officers discovered a 7-ft. The man said he got the gator as a pet when the reptile was little and that he had spent the past four years feeding the animal chicken nuggets and steak. It is illegal to own a pet alligator in Kansas City, so the animal was safely removed from the home and placed in a wildlife rescue that is home to several other former pet gators. Animal Control officers helped remove the animal from the lake and brought it to a wildlife rescue center.

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