Alligator Facts 101: Where Do Alligators Lay Their Eggs?

Which came first, the alligator or the egg? This question can be startling for some people. Despite its popularity, many people are uncertain if alligators lay eggs. Do they give birth to live young?

Alligators are reptiles. According to the rules of science, all reptiles lay eggs and they will lay them on land. Most reptiles even go as far as burying their eggs. Alligators and turtles are famous for doing this. Because there are exceptions to rules, some snake and lizard species do give birth to live young.

Here’s an interesting tidbit about alligators. Almost all reptiles leave their eggs once they lay them. It’s survival of the fittest at its most basic. But alligators don’t do this. They stay and watch over their eggs. They also care for their young until they become juveniles. As a matter of fact, gators are always known to be among the most maternal of animals.

There are a lot more fun facts about alligators. But we’ll focus on how this amazing reptile reproduces.

Where Do Alligators Lay Their Eggs?

Saying that an alligator spends most of its time in the water is an understatement. These reptiles spend most of their lives in water. Some gator experts say this animal can hold their breath in water for 24 hours. There are a lot of dissenting opinions about this. There are those who say alligators can only stay wholly submerged for two to eight hours.

While Florida’s state reptile appears to prefer the water, they head inland to lay their eggs. A female alligator will begin to look for a good location after the mating season. She will begin building a nest for her soon-to-be hatchling.

This is an arduous process that takes place in the dark of night. The mommy alligator will gather vegetation and other materials for her nest. She’ll arrange it into a mound. A gator will do this several times before she finally decides her nest is perfect. Most nests will be about three feet tall. These can have a diameter of at least six feet.

How Many Eggs Will the Nest Hold?

There’s a reason why alligator nests are quite large. The mother gator will lay anywhere from 20 to 50 eggs at one time. First-time gator moms will produce at least 20 eggs at a time. But older and larger females will lay more eggs.

Here are some sad but interesting facts about alligators. There will be tens of thousands of gator eggs in Florida during the mating season. But less than 70% of those eggs will survive. There are different reasons why many baby alligators don’t see the light of day. They can become crushed by the female. Many eggs are also stolen by predators like raccoons, otters, and wild hogs.

Gator eggs are also in danger of drowning. How does this happen when the eggs are on land? The position of the egg plays a part. Eggs laid upright have zero chance of survival. The embryo inside will drown. The long axis should be parallel to the ground. The female gator will conceal the eggs once she’s done laying them. The clutch will become covered with leaves, twigs, and mud. It will hatch in about two to three months. The mother knows when it’s time when she hears chirping sounds inside the nest.

Witness the Best of Florida

Are you gearing up for an adventure? You can’t go wrong with Swamp Fever Airboat Adventures. Our company’s voted as the best airboat rides in Florida. Join us for an hour or more of a thrilling ride in Lake Panasoffkee. We’ll show you the American gator up close. You can even have a photo op with it. You’ll have memorable wildlife encounters while learning from Capt. Ron. Drop us a line here if you want to book a trip. You can also buzz us at 352-643-0708.