The King of the South’s Wilderness: Alligators

The King of the South’s Wilderness: Alligators

american alligatorYou may have seen them on the golf course, or passed them in a swamp or wetlands, or you may have even rooted for them at a football game. But one thing is for sure, we like to give alligators as much room as possible and rather have a close-up glimpse of them from the comfort of the South Carolina aquarium.

As one of South Carolina’s most feared and well-known creatures, the alligator is one of the oldest living species on the planet—dating back to the years when dinosaurs were around. And it’s not much of a shock to hear that. They look like they’ve been around since the Cretaceous period!

But gators weren’t always seen on a regular basis in the wild. In fact, they were considered an endangered species in the 1970s, but thanks to the Endangered Species Act, as well as state and federal protective laws, and various conservation efforts, alligators have increased dramatically in their numbers and are no longer considered endangered.

Alligators typically grow between 10 – 15 feet in length, but have been known to grow nearly 20 feet long! They are typically found in freshwater areas (including rivers, lakes, marshes, swamps, and other wetlands) of the southeastern United States and can remain submerged, holding their breath for a full hour!

If you’re looking to get up-close to these ferocious creatures, don’t do it in the wild! These bad boys can bite down with a whopping 3,000 lbs. per square inch! Rather, visit the South Carolina Aquarium to see baby alligators and the famous Alabaster, an ALBINO ALLIGATOR! Although he doesn’t move much, he is certainly alive, and it’s a real treat to witness him move about.

SIDE NOTE: Many individuals confuse crocodiles for alligators (and vice versa), so the best way to tell them apart is by their snouts. Alligators have a wide, U-shaped snout, while crocodiles have a narrow snout that it more of a triangular shape. Florida is the only place in the world where both crocodiles AND alligators can be found living amongst each other.

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