How Many Babies Do Alligators Have and Do They Care for Them?

Alligators and their close cousins, the crocodiles, are ferocious-looking creatures. Their large size and dozens of razor-sharp teeth contribute to this image. The stories of alligator attacks are enough to scare anyone. To be fair, these attacks are few and far between.

What most people don’t know is that the American alligator is a great parent. Research has shown that gators and crocs do dote on their offspring. It’s a shocking but pleasant discovery to be sure. After all, alligators start their life in a very vulnerable state.

The life of this reptile starts when mother alligators lay eggs. Female gators start to care for their babies from that point onwards.

Where Do Alligators Lay Their Eggs?

Alligators lay their eggs on the edge of marshes and ponds. These reptiles need to spend time in the water. It’s where they hunt and regulate their body temperature. Experts say an American alligator can stay underwater for a whole day. At the very least, they should become submerged for about eight hours.

This dependence on water is why alligators build their nest on the banks of rivers, ponds, and marshes. The female gator will head inland but will build her nest 10 to 16 feet away from the water. This location will be an area where there’s vegetation or ground cover.

Most alligator nests are six feet in diameter. They can also reach a height of three feet. The alligator will build it from the muddy ground. It will also become covered with vegetation and debris. The mother will make use of anything she can to get her claws on to build her nest. Once she’s satisfied that it’s sturdy and secure, she will begin to lay her eggs.

How Many Babies Do Alligators Have?

Babies are a bit of a misnomer here. Alligators have hatchlings. Of course, the alligator should lay her eggs before any hatchling can arrive. A female alligator can lay 20 to 50 eggs in one mating season. It’s common for young alligators to have 20 eggs in their first-ever clutch. These numbers go up the older she gets.

An alligator will lay the eggs on top of the nest she built. She’ll then cover them with more vegetation and such. The decomposing greens will warm up the nest and determine the sex of the hatchling. Female alligators appear when the nest temperature is 86 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Male gators appear when the temperature hits 93 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Mid-temperature levels will produce a mix of genders.

Did you know that a female gator will remove or add more material to her nest? She does this to produce hatchlings of both sexes! It’s too bad that more than half those eggs won’t hatch. Predators will steal some of the eggs. The mother might crush the other eggs. Hatchlings can even drown even while they’re inside their eggs. This happens when the eggs are in an upright position. Eggs that have their long axis parallel to the ground have a better chance of survival.

The clutch of eggs takes about two to three months to develop into hatchlings. They’ll start chirping when they’re ready to hatch. This signals their mother to open up the mound. She’ll pick up her hatchlings and bring them to the water.

Find Out More About Florida

There’s always something new to do and see in Florida. Swamp Fever Airboat Adventures is one adventure you should not miss. We have the honor of being the best airboat ride in the Sunshine State. We offer an hour of thrilling rides across Lake Panasoffkee. There you can see our state reptiles and other wildlife. We also guarantee your safety as you travel with our Capt. Ron. Why not drop us a line here and schedule an adventure? You can also ring us at 352-643-0708.