09
Mar

How Many Eggs Do Alligators Lay and How Do They Survive?

No two words are as linked together as alligators and Florida. You can’t mention one without thinking of the other. The American alligator is very common in the Sunshine State. It’s so ubiquitous that Florida’s local government decreed the gator as its official reptile.

Take a ride in the swamps with Swamp Fever Airboat Adventures and you can see these reptiles in all their glory. You can also visit Gatorland and learn more about them there too.

There are millions of alligators in Florida today, but that wasn’t the case back in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Aside from hunting, only 2% of alligator eggs survive in the wild. Alligators are flourishing in Florida today. The local government’s programs to protect and care for their eggs have been very successful. Here are some interesting facts about this critical period in a gator’s life.

How Do Alligators Reproduce?

Baby alligators happen the old-fashioned way. Their parents will mate.

The mating season for these reptiles starts in spring. The males make low bellowing sounds to announce their presence and attract females. They will also slap the water with their jaws and raise their tails. They do this to capture the attention of a potential mate.

When the male alligator finds a probable mate, they will start courting her. The courtship rituals of these animals are quite complex. It also takes several hours. If they “win over” the female, they will copulate.

Can crocodiles and alligators mate? This is a question people often ask. The answer is no. They might look similar but gators and crocodiles are two different species.

How Many Eggs Do Alligators Lay?

Female alligators will mate several times in one season. When they’re ready, they will start building their nest. These reptiles might be big and scary looking, but they’re loving parents. Female gators are fierce mothers. They will protect their children from the time she lays her eggs until they become juveniles.

Where do alligators lay their eggs? A female alligator will lay them in a nest she will build. It’s often made up of mud, sticks, and other plant material. A gator nest will be around 6 feet in diameter and 3 feet high. You can see them located along the banks of marshes and ponds.

A mother alligator will lay anywhere from 20 to 50 eggs at the nest. She will then cover her eggs with vegetation to incubate them. The temperature of the nesting site determines if the eggs will develop into male or female. Temperatures around 82 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit produce females. Males appear in warm temperatures that are between 90 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit. Moderate temperatures between 82 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit result in mixed genders.

Mother gators are militant in guarding their nest. They know when it’s time for their babies to hatch when they hear some squeaking sounds. Baby alligators squeak and peep before they break free of their eggs. The sound alerts the mother and she’ll start to remove the vegetation covering her eggs.

Mother and Pod

An alligator clutch will hatch around June or July. The mother gator will carry her hatchlings to the water as soon as they emerge. She will even carry them on her back as she swims. Baby alligators are born carnivores. They will eat small animals they find in and near the swamp water. Their diet will consist of insects, crawfish, and tadpoles. They will also eat small fish.

The mother will stay with her offspring for the first year of their lives. She will protect them with fierce dedication. Female gators will do this even when the babies become juveniles.

Here’s an interesting tidbit about gators. A group of juvenile gators is a pod. These are often made up of juveniles from various nests.

How Long Do Baby Alligators Stay With Their Moms?

Baby alligators will stay with their mom for about a year. They will join a pod when they become juveniles, and they can stay there for three years. Staying in a pod is a good defense strategy for these reptiles. It provides them with protection against other predators. Young alligators are vulnerable to large fish and birds of prey. Raccoons also target them. Juveniles are also in danger from other alligators. Male gators are also known to prey on them.

Juvenile gators will call out to their mother when they’re in danger or feel threatened. But this habit stops when they reach around 4 feet in length. Young gators are often invulnerable when they reach that size. There are only two creatures that are a danger to them at this point, and these are humans and larger alligators. They will even leave their pod at this point.

Alligators grow to large sizes. A female alligator can grow to about 10 feet long. They’re considered mature and able to mate when they reach six feet. Male gators can reach lengths of 10 to 15 feet.

See the Life of an Alligator

Alligators are fascinating, whether they’re babies or large adults. You can see gators in all shapes and sizes when you go on a tour with Swamp Fever Airboat Adventures. We can let you have a closer look at these reptiles. We are one of the top airboat tour operators in the Sunshine State. You can experience a fun and memorable time exploring the swamps of Florida. It’s not only gators though. You’ll also see and learn more about Florida’s wildlife. You’ll be in good hands as our esteemed Captain Ron will be at the helm. Book a one-hour tour here or call us at 352-643-0708.

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