The American alligator comes from the Alligatoridae family. The current two existing species in the U.S. are primarily the American alligator (A. Mississippiensis) and the Chinese alligator (A. Sinensis).
Some Fascinating Facts About The American Alligator
- Alligator origins date to the Oligocene era, making this species approximately 37 million years old.
- The word “alligator” comes from the English interpretation of the Spanish word “el lagarto,” meaning a lizard. The first English spelling of the alligator included “alagarta” and “alagarto” before transforming into its current form.
- The average weight of an adult American alligator is 790 pounds (360 kilograms).
- The average length of the adult American alligator is 13 feet to 14 feet (about four meters).
- An average American alligator weighs around 990 pounds (450 kilograms).
- The largest American alligator ever discovered in the U.S. was in Louisiana. This alligator was 19.2 feet (84 meters) long.
- Chinese alligators are smaller than American ones. The Chinese alligator is about 7 feet (2.1 meters).
- Male Chinese alligators typically weigh less than 100 pounds (45 kilograms).
- Unsurprisingly, there is no record of the average lifespan of the alligator. However, a history of one does exist in the form of Saturn. Saturn was an American alligator born in Mississippi in 1936, was transported to Germany, where it lived for ten years before being sent to the Moscow Zoo. Saturn lived to the age of 84 before dying on May 22, 2020.
The alligator species only lives in Mexico, China, and the United States.