American alligators are one of two true alligator species. Did you know the name alligator comes from the Spanish phrase for "the lizard", el lagarto? Read on to learn more.
Tons of Teeth
There are approximately 80 teeth in an alligator’s mouth at one time, and when the teeth wear down, they’re replaced. An alligator can go through 2,000-3,000 teeth in a lifetime — now that’s a mouthful!
Food for Thought
Alligators feed on fish, turtles, mammals, snakes and birds, but there’s one thing they should never eat – food from humans. Feeding alligators is illegal, dangerous and could make them approach humans for handouts. They’ll bite the hand that feeds them (literally!), so never feed alligators or other wild animals.
A Success Story
Thanks to proper protection, American alligators are comeback champions. Once listed as endangered, their numbers have increased greatly. But the same cannot be said for their close cousin, the Chinese alligator. Unfortunately, there are fewer than 1,000 Chinese alligators left in China's lower Yangtze River Valley.