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Most reptiles pay no attention to their offspring, but alligators are truly tender mothers. The female builds a large mound of rotting vegetation and careful lays her eggs inside to incubate.  When they hatch, she guides them to the water and watches out for them for at least two years.

alligator floating in the water

Did You Know?

Snack Size: A young alligator must avoid predation if it is to grow into a top predator itself.

Quick Facts

Latin Name:
Alligator mississippiensis

Southeastern United States


9 to 16 ft

40 years

Zoo Location:
Manatee Springs

Fish, turtles, snakes, frogs, small mammals, birds, and other alligators