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American Alligator
Alligator mississippiensis

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertibrata
Class: Reptilia
Subclass: Archosauria
Order: Crocodylia
Superfamily: Crocodylomorpha
Family: Alligatoridae
Subfamily: Alligatorinae
Genus: Alligator
Species: A. mississippiensis

Description: It can measure up to 11 to 15 ft in length, and can weigh up to 999 pounds. The females are smaller, measuring around 9.8 feet in length.

Location: Southeastern United States (from the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia and North Carolina, on south to the Everglades National Park in Florida, west to the southern tip of Texas.

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Food: Fishes (catfishes, shad, bass, sunfish), amphibians, reptiles (turtles, snakes (including Burmese Pythons), lizards), birds (herons, egrets, storks, waterfowl, rails (gallinules, coots)), mammals (muskrats, Raccoons, coypu, deer (Florida Keys White-Tailed Deer), wild boars, cats (Lynxes, Mountain Lions), dogs, calves, Black Bears), invertebrates (insects, insect larvae, crustaceans (snails, crayfish, crabs), spiders, worms), fruits (wild grapes, elderberries, citrus fruits).

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Breeding: It will lay its 20 to 50 white eggs in a vegetation nest made of sticks, leaves, and mud in a sheltered spot in or near the water. The eggs are incubated by the decaying vegetation for about 65 days.

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Housing: This is a large reptile that requires a lot of room to create a healthy life for it.

Feeding: It is strongly suggested that you do not feed it in the manner that was shown by Steve Irwin, it only takes one misscalculation to loose a hand or arm to such a large predatory animal.

Care: It is listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It was listed as an endangered species by the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

Notes: It is the official state reptile of the fallowing states: Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

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April, May 2016