Welcome to Gator Country

Casey Anderson uses his wildlife skills deep in the heart of Florida’s swamps to learn about America’s top cold-blooded predator – the American alligator. On the bayou, Casey quickly learns the #1 rule: where there’s water, there are probably alligators. But alligators and crocodiles aren’t the only predators out here; while exploring in the Everglades, Casey wrangles the King of the Everglades – a Burmese python, which can grow to 20 feet in length.

To get ready for Casey’s trip to gator country, we’ve put together some fun facts about alligators:

  • Although alligators are considered a freshwater species, they are actually capable of utilizing saltwater habitats as well.  Alligators at Kennedy Space Center commonly travel to nearby saltwater to hunt for food, but must return to freshwater to rehydrate their bodies.
  • Warning signs that an American alligator may become aggressive include wiggling its ears, wiggling its tail, hissing and opening its mouth.
  • Unlike American alligators, American crocodiles excrete excess salt through specialized salt glands, allowing them to live in saltwater habitats as well as freshwater.
  • As the population of once-endangered American crocodiles increases, Florida’s nuisance wildlife responders are beginning to find crocodiles in the same urban situations they typically only find American alligators, like swimming pools and golf courses.
  • There are over 5 million American alligators in the US, with 1.2 million in the state of Florida alone.
  • American alligators can weigh up to 1,100 pounds and the biggest alligator ever recorded was 19.2 feet.
  • Invasive Burmese pythons can grow up to 25 feet and eat almost anything in the Florida Everglades – even gators.
  • There are around 15,000 alligator complaints per year in Florida. And in this complaint, Casey heads to a residential backyard pool that is housing an unwelcome visitor:

 

Tune in to America the Wild: Gator Country Sunday at 10P on Nat Geo WILD.