tourism, harvesting) programs. Florida, Louisiana, Texas). There have only been a handful of alligator-related fatalities recorded in the USA since the 1950s, and improved education and awareness is the best long-term way to avoid future incidents. If danger threatens, she will rapidly return to the nest to deal with the threat. Yet another example of their amazing ability to survive. tourism, harvesting) programs. an order within an order? Sub-adult basking on floating log This may have long-term implications for their ability to reproduce, but the effects are still being quantified. Population surveys are extensive and ongoing, and data are available throughout the alligators' range due to links with management and harvest programs. MISCELLANEOUS FACTS: Once in the water, she opens her jaws and shakes her head gently side to side, encouraging her babies to swim out. Amer. Mus. Nat. The American alligator is a rare success story of an endangered animal not only saved from extinction but now thriving. Both sexes communicate using aural, visual, tactile and olfactory cues. J. Herpetol. Once the eggs are ready to hatch, calls from the hatchlings stimulate the mother to open the nest using her front legs and jaws to break away the vegetation. This encompasses many areas from control of prey species to the creation of peat through their nesting activities. Despite this protection, juveniles are regularly threatened by predators such as raccoons, large fish, birds and even other alligators. over 150 farms) are well established in several states (e.g. C. palustris Wild adult populations have been observed to fall into two general forms: those which are long and thin, and those which are short and stocky. Social signals of the American alligator. J. Herpetol. Alligators have been successfully reintroduced or restocked in several states (e.g. J. Herpetol. 107: 209-218 Zool. CONSERVATION: The belly skin of the alligator produces a generally high-quality leather, and this resulted in considerable hunting pressure earlier in the 20th century, particularly in Louisiana and Florida. Some animals are relocated, but this has generally been shown to be ineffective as alligators often return to their home range within a matter of days. Garrick, L, Lang, J & Herzog, HA (1978). These findings have implications for other crocodilian species. Females reach sexual maturity at an average of 1.8 m (5.9 feet). Alligator habitat in Florida Everglades The state of the wild alligator populations provides ample opportunity for such research to be undertaken. Feeding activity is governed by water temperature, with foraging activity ceasing if the temperature drops below 20 to 23°C (68 to 73°F). Midl. Essentially their upper body becomes trapped in the ice. McIlhenny, EA (1935). The finished nest may rise 3.5 feet (just over 1 m) and be twice as wide. Cropping is only allowed from certain populations, protecting peripheral populations that are still recovering. Females reach lengths of just under 3 m (approx 9.8 feet). Brandt, LA (1991). Ranching programs usually have to return a high percentage (17% in Louisiana) of juveniles back into wild populations, although recovery in these areas has now been documented and further reintroduction is likely unnecessary. pp. M. niger Flooding will kill most eggs within 12 hours of submergence.