12
May

Break the Ice with These Weird and Amazing Alligator Facts

Have trouble starting a conversation? You’re not alone. It’s a rare individual who has the gumption to strike up a conversation with virtual strangers. Experts say there are two ways to start a conversation. One is to ask an open-ended question. The other is to share an interesting fact. For instance, you can mention some weird alligator facts that will pique one’s curiosity.

The American alligator is a compelling creature. It’s the closest anyone can get to seeing a dinosaur. There are also many details about this reptile that most people don’t know. Here is some information you can use to break the ice and make friends.

They Share DNA with Birds

Is an alligator a reptile? Yes, it is. The gator belongs to the reptilia class and Crocodilia order. It’s also air-breathing and cold-blooded. Like most reptiles, the alligator also lays eggs. Despite all these traits, this animal has a DNA like birds. Birds are now proven to descend from the dinosaurs. It’s why some scientists look at alligators as modern-day dinosaurs. They even look as prehistoric as their humongous ancestors.

Their Teeth are not for Chewing

Gators have a lot of teeth. An adult will have 80 teeth in a conical shape. They can replace their lost teeth up to 50 times during their lifetime. Do you know what’s weird? Alligators don’t have teeth to chew or pulverize their food. So what do alligators eat? They eat anything they can get. They’re not omnivores though. They’re carnivores. They eat invertebrates and fish. They also consume birds and small mammals.

They don’t chew their food though. They use their teeth to catch and hold their prey. They’ll then swallow it whole. But they can tear their food into smaller pieces if they want to. They do this by shaking it apart. Sometimes they will spin their bodies to tear off the flesh of the animal. Alligators also love fruit. In fact, they’re credited with helping spread fruit trees in Florida. Gators drop seeds as they walk around the swamp.

They Live Long Lives

The alligator has been around for centuries. Experts say the Alligatoridae family has existed for 37 million years. Their descendants live quite long lives as well. How long do alligators live? The American gator can reportedly live for 30 to 50 years in its natural habitat. Of course, alligators in captivity survive much longer. Some of them can reach up to 70 years.

According to the Guinness World Records, the oldest reported American alligator is Muja. He is reportedly 86 years old. But he can be anywhere from 90 to 95 years old. He was an adult when he arrived at the Belgrade Zoo in 1937. Since gators take around 12 years to mature, he could be older than what the zoo claims.

Muja isn’t the only gator to live a long life in a zoo. He has a counterpart in Berlin. Saturn is about the same age as Muja. He’s also famous for surviving the bombing of the Berlin Zoo during the Second World War.

Here’s another interesting tidbit about gator’s life expectancy. Scientists usually don’t consider the first years of the animal’s life. It’s because they don’t have a tested method for determining the age of a living alligator. They will check the bones of a dead alligator instead. They’ll then give an estimate of its age based on its bone size. This process is also referred to as skeleton chronology.

Showing You the Best of Florida

Ready to observe Florida’s state reptile? You can do that in safety when you join a Swamp Fever Airboat Adventures tour. We’re one of the best airboat tour operators in the Sunshine State. We’re located near the beautiful Lake Panasoffkee. Our tours are educational and safe. It’s one of the things our Captain Ron is proud of. Give us a call at 352-643-0708 and book a tour. You can also check here if you want to schedule it online.