Are Alligators Reptiles, Amphibians, or Mammals?

There’s always been some confusion about whether alligators are reptiles or amphibians. There are even some people who think gators are mammals. Confusion often stems from wrong information, but the similarities between the various animal groups.

That kind of misinformation does a big disservice to animals. You also shouldn’t labor under the wrong impressions. Educating yourself about things like this will always be in your best interest. Let us help you along.

Is the Alligator Reptile or Amphibian?

Alligators are reptiles. People can become forgiven for thinking it’s an amphibian. The two classes of animals share some things in common. For one, both are cold-blooded animals. Next, they also lay eggs instead of living young. Reptiles and amphibians also belong to the same phylum. Both are vertebrates, which means they have four limbs and a backbone.

But that’s where the similarities end. Some experts would say that even those similarities are only on a surface level. Take egg laying as an example. Amphibians use external fertilization of their eggs. Meanwhile, gators do internal fertilization.

Why Alligators are not Considered Mammals

Are alligators mammals? That’s also a question that’s always asked. It’s clear that alligators are not mammals. They are the exact opposite of mammals. As mentioned, gators are cold-blooded creatures. Mammals are warm-blooded.

Mammalian skin is always covered with hair. Gator skin, like that of other reptiles, is usually covered with scales. Mammals also give birth to live young. They also have mammary glands. These produce and secrete the milk that young mammals drink to survive. Reptiles and amphibian young are often fed in different ways.

Most mammals live on land their entire lives. Alligators can spend their time between land and water. There’s one mammal that does live underwater though. These are the whales.

More Alligator Facts

There are a lot more interesting facts about gators than their laying eggs. Most people are always curious about what alligators eat. There’s a good chance you won’t become surprised to learn that the American alligator is a carnivore.

Gators sure love their meat. They also eat a lot of it. They will dine on invertebrates and amphibians. They won’t say no to frogs and fishes. Birds and mammals are also on their menu. Alligators are massive, and protein is the best way for them to get the energy they need.

How big do alligators get? The Smithsonian National Zoological Park estimates it can reach 11.2 feet in length. They can also weigh in at 1,000 lbs. That’s 454 kilograms. The sheer size and weight of the alligator justify its preference for meat. But here’s a fun fact about our scaly friend. Gators love fruits. They also help propagate fruit trees in Florida. They drop the seeds of the fruits they eat as they walk. These seeds will soon find themselves growing on the rich soil of Florida.

Alligators are predators. It’s not hard to imagine them stalking their prey and overcoming them. You can even find proof of their hunts online. YouTube has a lot of videos of gators pulling down large animals, like zebras, in the water. They can also catch large birds and break open turtle shells. They can swallow their prey if it’s small. Otherwise, alligators will tear off large pieces of meat and swallow them.

Learn More About Florida’s Gators

There’s a reason why alligators are the official reptile of the Sunshine State. You can discover the reason why with the help of Swamp Fever Airboat Adventures. Our company is famous for its airboat tours. You can find us at the mesmerizing Lake Panasoffkee. Join one of our tours and see what else Florida has to offer. Aside from getting close to alligators, you can also see the native plants. You can buzz us at 352-643-0708. You can reach us and book a tour here.