The quintessential animal of wild Florida would have to be the American alligator.
These large reptiles occur throughout Florida, preferring freshwater lakes, slow moving rivers and wetlands, they can be found in brackish waters as well. The range extends throughout the southeastern coastal plain from Texas into North Carolina.
The males are larger with an average of 3.4 m (11-1/4 ft.), growing up to 4.2m (14 ft.) long. Females average 2.6m (8-1/4 ft.). Both sexes have short legs and bodies armored with bony plates, called scutes. The snout is long and rounded, with upward facing nostrils that allow breathing while most of the alligator is underwater.
Alligators tend to be darker and have a broader snout than American Crocodiles, and the teeth of alligators are not visible when the mouth is closed.
Alligator mississippiensis is a member of the Alligatoridae - Alligators and Caimans family.
For more information on this species, visit the following link:
University of Florida IFAS Extension page for this species
Date record last modified: Aug 17, 2020