Dangerous pets: American alligators
The survival of American alligators was uncertain a few decades ago, but then these reptiles were protected. Today, the number of American alligators has increased so much that we see them in cities.
- The American alligator knows how to hide perfectly.
- It has strong jaws with 80 sharp teeth.
- Tolerates salt water although the American alligator prefers fresh water.
- The female lays an average of 20 to 50 eggs.
- Young alligators leave the eggshell after about 65 days.
- They suffer because of the sought-after and expensive skin, but also the tasty, healthy meat.
The most famous crocodile in the world is the one launched in 1927 by Rene Lacosta embroidered on a T-shirt. Later, this logo was taken as a trademark by the company of the same name. However, in recent times attention has also been drawn to relatives of crocodiles – American Mississippi alligators (Aligator mississippiensis). Namely, these descendants of huge prehistoric lizards are inhabitants of the swampy areas of the American states of Florida, Louisiana, Alabama and Georgia (which owe their name to the Spanish conquistadors and the word “el lagerto” (lizard). These reptiles have multiplied greatly in recent years. That is why they are seen in settlements , near cities and even in the parks of populated areas in search of food (they often attack people as well).
It was recorded that some rivers in the southern parts of America could be crossed by walking on the backs of alligators – after the conquest of the New World began. Later, over 250,000 of these reptiles were killed annually for their highly valued skin and meat (rich in protein and poor in fat), and in recent history for the trade in exotic animals. This led to a drastic reduction in the number of alligators. The American alligator was saved from extinction by the Conservation Act of 1967.
Alligators survived, but it seems they decided to get close to humans. Some people believe that the reason is the shrinking alligator habitat, while other people believe that the reason is the extravagant desire of individuals to adopt these reptiles as pets (which is not exactly a recent phenomenon). So the famous American actress Sarah Bernard believed in the possibility of friendship between man and this resident of the swamp and river. During Sarah’s tour of Florida at the beginning of the 20th century, the famous actress bought a baby alligator. She sent the baby alligator to France. However, to Sarah’s great surprise, the young alligator swallowed Sarah’s young terrier dog in one bite. The young alligator then lost its head (as a sign of revenge), which was repaired and decorated Sara’s living room for the rest of her life. Under the reptile’s head was written “Grave of my beloved dog”. No better illustration of the fact that alligators are unsuitable pets should be sought. After all, keeping alligators at home is not recommended because an adult male (one of the 21 species of crocodiles) can be up to 6 meters long. One third is the strong and muscular tail that the alligator uses as a swimming paddle. The weight of the alligator is also not negligible because the alligator can weigh up to 280 kilograms. Females are smaller and lighter, usually up to 3 meters long and about 100 kg in weight. Females use claws on short legs to dig mounds for eggs. Mating, accompanied by loud roaring of the male, takes place during the spring. In summer, the female lays 20 to 50 eggs, which she carefully guards. It is interesting that the gender of future alligators depends on the ambient temperature – because the higher the temperature, the more male alligators there will be. The mother takes several cubs in her mouth and takes them into the water to learn to swim and catch prey. Cubs voraciously swallow water and anything that moves, even their own siblings.
Adult alligators feed on fish, reptiles and smaller relatives that they kill and swallow in one bite. However, a hungry alligator does not shy away from large animals either. Then the alligator takes the prey into the water to drown the prey and eat as much as it can and leaves the rest within reach and returns every time it gets hungry.