Swamp Things BioBlitz Spotlight Species #2

Spotlight Species #2:
American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

What to Look For:
The American alligator can grow to be 15 feet long. They can be olive, brown, gray, or black with cream-colored bellies. Younger alligators have a striped pattern. They can be distinguished from the American Crocodile by having a broad snout with overlapping jaws.

Where to Find It:
The American alligator can be found in freshwater. You can find them in local marshes and cypress swamps. They are less tolerant of saltwater but more tolerant of cooler temperatures than their cousins, the American crocodile. You’ll find them basking in the sun on the riverbanks or even on logs above the river.

Pro tip: One of the best places to spot the American alligator in the Waccamaw River watershed is the canal along Lake Waccamaw in North Carolina where they like to breed.

Why It Is a Spotlight Species:
Alligators are no longer listed as an endangered species, but have been listed in the past. Due to overhunting and habitat loss, populations were severely depleted and their survival as a species was threatened. Today, alligators are on the rebound.

As an apex predator, their existence can indicate a healthy ecosystem since it means there is enough food for them to survive. While some might fear alligators on the river, we are always happy to see them since we know that means our swamps are healthy!

The American alligator is one of our favorite swamp things!

Posted on March 01, 2023 07:54 PM by schidtshow schidtshow

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