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It’s Mating Time For Florida’s Alligators.  And It’s Noisy!
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2012 by eNature

At a time when its beaches and theme parks draw boisterous crowds, Florida’s alligators simply want a little peace and quiet — a comfortable log, say, or a sunlit bank on which to bask uninterrupted. But visitors shouldn’t take the aloof behavior personally. The fact is that alligators experience a biological slowdown in the winter months. Perhaps they’re resting in preparation for the spring, when an active, loquacious mating period commences and members of both sexes bellow from the swamps and defend their territories.

Generally speaking, alligators seldom wander far from home. It’s common for a female to spend its entire life within a half-mile of its birthplace. And if displaced for some reason — frustrated homeowners have been known to take such measures — the alligator will usually return to its home. One gator found its way back after being moved 35 miles.

Alligators have been documented to live for fifty years or more. As a result, they can become quite enormous. Most of the real monsters — including the alligator captured in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, in 1890 that measured 19 feet, 2 inches — have disappeared, but even in recent times American Alligators measuring 14 feet from head to tail have been found in Florida. Typical adult females now measure about 8 feet long, while the males average 11 feet long.

Wild alligators shun humans whenever possible, but those commonly in contact with people at golf courses, wildlife sanctuaries, and other high traffic areas can grow quite trusting of humans. It’s a mistake, though, for humans to put too much trust in alligators. Granted, unprovoked attacks on humans are extremely rare, but fatalities have occurred.

One final note: Three species of crocodilians exist in Florida. The American Alligator, which occurs in freshwater habitats, is the only one found throughout the state. The American Crocodile, meanwhile, favors brackish and saltwater areas in southwestern Florida. The third crocodilian, the introduced and secretive Spectacled Caiman, is restricted to a few counties in southern Florida. The alligator and crocodile are fully protected by law; the caiman is not.


Ever hear an alligator bellow? It’s not a sound you’ll soon forget. Click here to hear one—and you can even download the sound as a cellphone ringtone.

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Comments

I am wondering why there are alligator hunts if they are fully protected.  Is it to keep the population down?  And does one have to kill or capture “gators” of a certain size?

I’ve always been mesmerized by them, beginning at the zoo.

Posted by Mona on 3/8

Only hunting is by lottery here in Florida. One per lucky lottery winner. There are thousands of Lligators.

Posted by Madeleine on 3/8

Several years ago, on a visit to the Okefenokee, my son and I heard a bull alligator roar.  At first, we thought it was a really loud Harley-Davidson taking off, but then we saw the alligator.  He was a ferocious sight - raised up on his legs, with his mouth wide open!!

Posted by Elizabeth on 3/10

I’m a Deep South native-Floridian, recently relocated to North Carolina; and, yes, I have heard the bellowing of an alligator during the mating season.

My siblings and I grew up in unincorporated Dade County (Richmond Heights), to be exact, in the early 1960’s; and being so very near the Everglades was enlightening, to say the least. We encountered a tremendous variety of animals, especially after a hurricane: this which made for an exciting childhood. So, it was nothing to walk along a path, to our favorite fishing spot, and hear rustling in the bushes, accompanied by that low, grumbling bellow, which closely resembled the humming of a really big engine. Needless to say, upon recognition of that sound, the ‘gator took sole control of that particular spot, and we had hotdogs for dinner that night. I really miss those days.

Thanks for the memories….smile.

Posted by Veronica Gaines-Lilly on 3/12

There are so many species of animals that really needs preservation today. They are now starting to decrease in numbers. through in preservation, we could give privilege to the future generations to witness these species.
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This is one of those facts that you nearly go crazy wanting to tell someone, but who on earth could you tell?
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Well, I certainly wish I had known that interesting tidbit when I was still in the classroom, teaching.LOL! This would be great information for a middle school science teacher.

Posted by keneddy on 4/17

I did not miss a word. It ends with “positively”. There isn’t a great deal point itemizing different examples since they hold changing – just be aware of comments that will not make a full large amount of sense.

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