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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Beauty Of The American Alligator

Beauty Of Animlas | The Beauty Of The American Alligator  | The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), sometimes referred to colloquially as a gator, is a reptile endemic only to the Southeastern United States. It is one of the two living species of alligator, in the genus Alligator, within the family Alligatoridae. It is larger than the other extant alligator species, the Chinese alligator. The American alligator inhabits wetlands that frequently overlap with human-populated areas.

The American alligator has a large, slightly rounded body, with thick limbs, a broad head, and a very powerful tail. Adult Alligators generally have a green, olive, brown, gray or nearly black color with a creamy white underside. Algae-laden waters produce greener skin, while tannic acid from overhanging trees can often produce darker skin. Juvenile alligators have a striped pattern for camouflage that they lose as they mature. Adult male alligators are typically 11.2 to 14.5 ft (3.4 to 4.4 m) in length, though rarely exceeding 14 ft (4.3 m), while adult females average 8.2 to 9.8 ft (2.5 to 3.0 m). Average body weights are reported from 270 to 800 lb (120 to 360 kg), with the larger old males exceeding 1,000 pounds (450 kg).
One American Alligator reportedly reached a length of 19 feet 2 inches (5.84 m) and 2,200 lb (1,000 kg),[9] which would make it not only the largest alligator ever recorded, but also among the largest crocodilians on record (although prehistoric crocodilians such as Sarcosuchus, Deinosuchus, and Purussaurus reached much greater sizes). However, since it was caught in the early 1900s, it is impossible to verify that claim. The tail, which accounts for half of the alligator's total length, is primarily used for aquatic propulsion. The tail can also be used as a weapon of defense when an alligator feels threatened.

Alligators travel very quickly in water and while they are generally slow-moving on land, alligators can lunge short distances very quickly. They have five claws on each front foot and four on each rear foot. American Alligators have the strongest laboratory measured bite of any living animal, measured at up to 9,452 newtons (2,125 lbf) in laboratory conditions. It should be noted that this experiment has not (at the time of the paper published) been replicated in any other crocodilians.
Some alligators are missing an inhibited gene for melanin, which makes them albino. These alligators are extremely rare and almost impossible to find in the wild. They could survive only in captivity. Like all albino animals, they are very vulnerable to the sun and predators. American Alligators can remain underwater for several hours if not actively swimming or hunting (then it is only about 20 minutes); they do this by rerouting blood to reduce circulation to the lungs, and thus the need for oxygen.

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