17
Jan

Why is an Alligator a Reptile? Find Out the Answer and More

There’s always been a lot of interest in alligators. Most visitors in Florida can’t escape the presence of this creature. For one, alligators proliferate all over the state. There are around a million gators thriving in the Sunshine State. The alligator is also the official reptile of the state. That in itself should tell you the importance of this animal.

It’s surprising but many people are still confused about gators. They don’t know where the alligator falls in the order of things. Is it a reptile or an amphibian? This post will answer that and more.

It’s a Reptile.

The alligator is a card-carrying member of the reptile group. Why is an alligator a reptile? Simple. It checks all the boxes that characterize reptiles. For one, they use their lungs to breathe. All reptiles have lungs, even snakes and turtles. While most amphibians have lungs, some have gills. Amphibians also breathe through their skin. This is something gators don’t do.

Alligators are vertebrates. The same as other reptiles. The alligator’s habitat is also so different from that of an amphibian. Gators live in wetlands but they spend hours on dry land. Amphibians spend almost all their time in the water.

They are Crocodilians

Crocodilian is a family of reptiles. Alligators, caimans, and crocodiles belong to this family. So do gharials. The animals in this family are often massive and have strong jaws. They have elongated and powerful tails. They also have thick skin covered with plates or osteoderms.

How big do alligators get? Gator experts say this reptile can grow over 11 feet in length. They can weigh as much as 1,000 lbs. Surprisingly, crocodiles dwarf gators. That fact is hard to imagine already, but male gators can reach 23 feet long. Females are smaller at 10 feet long.

Can crocodiles and alligators mate? It’s a question many people are often interested to find out the answer to. They might belong to the same family but they can’t mate. Their fundamental differences are too big. There won’t be any viable offspring even if they did mate.

They Come in Different Colors

Many reptiles have vibrant colors. The chameleon is always known for its ability to change colors. Alligators don’t have that ability but they have striking colors. What color is an alligator? Adults have a dark gray hue. Their undersides have a lighter tone though. Meanwhile, juvenile alligators have strips of colors on their sides. This is to help them blend in with their surroundings.

There have even been reports of bright green alligators. Many theorize that color is often caused by external factors. A green gator is often covered with duckweed or other small plants found in swamps.

The albino alligator is real although they’re very rare. There are about 200 albino alligators in the world. They have white skin and pink eyes. Their unique color is to their detriment though. It’s easy for other animals to see them, which puts them in danger of predators.

Reptiles Have a Month Dedicated to Them

October 21 is National Reptile Awareness Day. The day’s meant to bring the issue of reptile conservation to the forefront. Reptiles like alligators are important. They were almost pushed to the brink of extinction once. The destruction of their habitat and hunting almost decimated the gator population.

The good news is Florida was able to bring the animal back. This is thanks to conservationists and sensible laws.

Bring You Fun and Educational Entertainment

There’s no reason why you can’t have fun and learn something at the same time. Swamp Fever Airboat Adventures can give you both. We have the best airboat tours in Tampa and Orlando. We’ll show you mesmerizing Lake Panasoffkee. Sign up on one of our tours and see what secrets the Sunshine State has. Give us a buzz at 352-643-0708 for inquiries. You can also reach us and book a tour here.