It has a short, blunt snout which shows upper teeth when the mouth is closed. Eyes, nostrils, and ears are located on the same plane allowing for entire body to be submerged, except for these organs. A protective covering of bony plates lies under the skin across the back. Even with armor, the animal is extremely flexible and quick. Alligators are usually between 6 and 16 ft. in length, although any over 12 ft. are rare. They have a long powerful tail for swimming.
It is found around the southeastern coast of the U.S.
It inhabits wetlands, including lakes, river, swamps, and brackish coastal marshlands.
They will eat anything they can overpower, including venomous snakes. Alligators do not chew their food, they swallow items whole or tear chunks off by grasping and rolling. They are known to stash food until decomposition begins. Stones are swallowed to aid in digestion.
During the spring, at night, males attract females by bellowing loudly and giving off a musky secretion from chin glands. The female builds a nest mound of mud and vegetation, and lays thirty to seventy eggs. Unlike most reptiles, alligator females protect the nest. The 8-inch young hatch and grow about 1 ft. a year. Females show some protection of young.
They are very common and are perhaps the most studied of all crocodilians.
They are not threatened.