4,5 m


450 kg


50 years

The American alligator, is one of two extant species of the genus Alligator. It is the largest reptile in North America and is also the official state reptile of three states in the US: Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana.

General characteristics

They are relatively large reptiles, although they are smaller than crocodiles. Adult males can reach up to 4.5m in length, while females are slightly smaller and weigh half as much.

In terms of coloration, they are dark green or brown on the upper part of the body, while the lower part is a lighter color, usually white or cream.

American alligators have a very strong and sharp jaw, with a large number of pointed and curved teeth. The skin is thick and tough, with bony dermal plates forming a protective armor. They are especially prominent on the upper back of the alligator.


They are predators and consume a variety of animals including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. 


They are polygamous and males fight each other to ensure mating with females. They are also very territorial animals and establish an area of dominance around their site, which allows them to protect their resources and ensure their survival.

Although they are mainly aquatic, they can travel long distances over land in search of new territories and even gallop at speeds of up to 30 km/h for short stretches.

They like to bask in the water, but may also climb and perch on tree branches if no shoreline is available, although this is rare.  


The breeding season begins in spring. In the evenings, the caimans gather to perform a group courtship called “water dances”.

The female builds a nest of sticks, leaves and mud in a sheltered place in or near water. She may lay from 35 to 90 eggs and covers them with vegetation to keep the eggs warm.

The eggs hatch after 10 weeks and when the hatchlings begin to hatch, the mother quickly pulls them out and carries them to the water with her mouth. 


American alligators are hunted for their skin and meat. The drying of the soil is one of the causes of the destruction of their habitat.  


They are native to the southeastern United States, from southern Texas to North Carolina. They inhabit tropical and subtropical freshwater wetlands.

American alligator

Did you know? 

The snout is U-shaped in alligators and V-shaped in crocodiles.

The temperature at which American alligator eggs develop determines their sex.

They help maintain balance in freshwater ecosystems by controlling the populations of fish and other aquatic animals.

Conservation status