Definitions for american alligator
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American alligator, Alligator mississipiensis(noun)
large alligator of the southeastern United States
The American alligator, sometimes referred to colloquially as a gator or common alligator, is a large crocodilian reptile endemic to the southeastern United States. It is one of two living species in the genus Alligator within the family Alligatoridae and larger than the other extant alligator species, the Chinese alligator. It is a species in which the males measure 3.4 m to 4.6 m in length, and can weigh 453 kg. Females are smaller, measuring around 3 m. The American alligator inhabits freshwater wetlands, such as marshes and cypress swamps from Texas to North Carolina. It is distinguished from the sympatric American crocodile by its broader snout, with overlapping jaws and darker coloration, and is less tolerant of seawater but more tolerant of cooler climates than the American crocodile which is found only in tropical climates. Alligators are apex predators and consume fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Hatchlings feed mostly on invertebrates. Alligators also play important roles in wetland ecosystems through the creation of "alligator holes" which provide wetter or drier habitats for other organisms. During the breeding season, males bellow and use infrasound to attract females. Eggs are laid in a nest of vegetation, sticks, leaves, and mud in a sheltered spot in or near the water. Young are born with yellow bands around their bodies and are protected by their mother.
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