How gator holes. Gator holes are a benefit

How
can alligators be described? Alligators are interesting animals because of
their ability to make gator holes. Gator holes are a benefit to other wildlife
after winter is over. The alligator can be described by understanding its
appearance, behavior, and habitat.

The
scales of an alligator is an important part of its appearance. They are usually
black or green in color. Alligators have thick, scaly skin. Bony plates called
scutes are covering their back, and alligator’s bellies are creamy white. Full,
circular snouts give their faces a special architecture (10). In the late
1800s, alligators were frequently chased for their skins. The velvety white
undersides of their covers up were utilized to make packs, belts, and shoes (38).
Alligators have thick skin covered in sales. Their scales are rectangle like
protective layer (6). Alligators dim color skin supports then to absorb of the
sun (13). Baby alligators are quite small in comparison to their mother. They
also have more brightly colored skin, with black and yellow bands running down
their bodies (Daly 30).

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          An alligator’s nose is a very
distinctive appearance of telling an alligator and crocodiles apart. Wide,
rounded snouts give their faces a distinctive shape  (10). An alligator floats very close to the
surface when it is in the water. The scutes on its back and the nostrils at the
end of its snout stick out above, while the rest of its body stays hidden
underwater. As a result, an alligator often looks a lot like a floating log.
Since its nostrils point upward, the alligator can breathe while the scutes
absorb warmth from the sun (Daly 13).

Alligators
have made a dramatic come back in the last 30 years. American alligators once
forced extinction. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service placed them on
the endangered species list in 1967. Fortunately, the legal protection worked.
Just 20 years later, American alligators were taken off the list (3). Brought
back from the brink of extinction, over a million of these reptiles survive
today. Now the main threat to alligators is habitat destruction, caused by such
human activities as drain and devolving wetlands (American). An average male
American alligator is 10 to 15 feet long. Half of its length is its massive
tail. An alligator can weigh as much as 1,000 pounds but an average male weighs
between 500 and 600 pounds. Females are usually smaller than males (22). Newly
hatched young are only about six to eight inches long, and very vulnerable
(Daly 30).

          Swimming is an important part in an
alligator’s life their a little awkward on land. An alligator uses its snout to
locate food when it is underwater. The bumps on an alligator’s snout are
actually specialized pressure sensors. They are so sensitive that they can feel
even the slightest ripple in the water. Alligators have a second set of clear
eyelids under their regular ones. These eyelids allow them to see clearly while
underwater. When an alligator is below the surface, muscles in its nostrils
close up. A bony door at the back of its mouth also closes. This is called the
glottis. A closed glottis allows the alligator to swim underwater without
drowning. An alligator can stay underwater up to two hours at a time if it does
not expend too much energy. For especially fast swimming, the alligator tucks
its legs up close to the sides of its body and moves its tail back and forth to
propel itself forward (Daly 17).

          Reproducing is the only reason it has come
off the endangered list that’s why it is so important to the alligators. As big
and ferocious as the female may look, she is a gentle mother. A mother
alligator makes a nest on shore, where she lays her eggs. Then she guards her
eggs until they’re ready to hatch. At the point the babies start to make
noises, and their mother hears her little one’s peeps as they break out of the
eggs (Means 78). A mother alligator does not sit on top of her nest during
incubation. This would crush the eggs. Instead, she stays nearby to guard the
nest from predators such as raccoons, opossums, skunks, and wild pigs. The eggs
begin to hatch after 60 to 65 days of incubation. Alligator hatchlings have a
hard bump on the end of their snouts called an egg tooth. They use this to
break out of their shells. Hatchlings call out to their mother after cracking
through their shells. She uncovers the nest using her front feet and snout (30).
She gently carries them in her mouth to the water nearby. Their mother protects
them from predators, which include raccoons, bobcats, birds, and even other
alligators (Daly 76).

          Domination is a good thing and we can
have bigger males that reproduce more so they do go endangered again. The
average life span of a wild alligator is between 30 and 35 years. When in
captivity, an alligator can live for up to 50 years. Adult alligators usually
lead mostly solitary lives. They spend very little time with other alligators
outside of mating season. Larger alligators are much more territorial than
smaller ones are. While smaller gators are still not very social, they are more
likely to live closer to one another. Scientists have used radio transmitters
to track the movements of alligators. This has helped us learn more about where
these animals live and how far they travel. The research shows that male
alligators have larger home ranges than females. An adult male’s range might
cover more than 1,000 acres during mating season. Females do not move around as
much because they are busy building nest and protecting their young (Daly 22).

Alligators
can go on land and water its good for hunting and running from predators. On
land, the alligator typically moves at a much slower pace than it does in the
water. But if it finds something to eat or needs to escape a dangerous
situation, the alligator can move rather quickly in short bursts. The alligators’
legs are very short. This means that its body hangs low to the ground when it
walks or runs on land. When the alligator needs to move quickly, it uses what
is called a high walk. When high walking, the alligator keeps its feet almost
directly underneath its body. This allows the alligator to raise its heavy tail
off the ground. Though the very tip still touches the ground, most of the
tail’s weight is held up which prevents it from dragging. On land, the tail can
be used as a weapon if the alligator feels at risk. It is strong enough to
break human bones in half (Daly 18).

After
they are done with their gator holes other animals can stay in their old gator
holes that’s why it’s good for the environment. Alligators must prepare ahead
of time to survive the winter. To stay warm in the chilly weather, an alligator
uses its snout and tail to burrow a tunnel into the earth along the edge of a
waterway. These tunnels are known as gator holes. Gator holes are filled with
water but have a pocket of air at the top. They can be as long as 65 feet. As
winter begins to set in, alligators become less active. The alligator goes into
its gator hole and enters a dormant state. A dormant alligator’s body systems
slow down and use very little energy. Because it is not active, the alligator
does not need to eat. Even when the water in its gator hole freezes solid, the
alligator can survive if its nostrils are above the surface of the ice (Daly 21).

Water
is an important role in an alligator’s life so they can survive against predators
and for transportation. Alligators are carnivores. They feed on everything from
fish, birds, and frogs to large mammals. The larger the alligator, the larger
the prey it will attack. Alligators feed mainly at night. They are not typical
predators. They do not move around to hunt for food. Instead, they patiently
wait for prey to come near. An alligator launches a surprise attack once an
unlucky animal is close enough. Smaller prey is captured and swallowed whole.
Larger prey puts up more of a struggle. In such cases, the alligator grabs its
victim and drags it underwater to drown it. When an animal is too big to
swallow whole, the alligator sometimes performs a move called a death roll. It
spins its body around while gripping the prey in its teeth. This allows it to
twist off chunks of meat. Other times, an alligator will hide the animal’s body
and come back after it has begun to rot. The rotting flesh is easier to break
apart and swallow (Daly 14).

          A way to describe an alligator is by
its appearance, behavior, and habitat. Alligators are really cool by how
dramatically their population went up. Alligators are really cool because of
their tails and their really strong scales.