How many species of alligator are there in the world?
Make a quick guess before clicking to find the answer!
Answer: B. 2
If you call the USA home, you probably have heard about the American alligator. . .right?
But did you know there is also the much smaller, critically endangered Chinese alligator, Alligator sinensis?
This armored dragon was once found throughout much of China. . . .Sadly, it is now only found in a very small area near the Yangtze River.
In 1998, the biggest area the Chinese alligator lived in was a small pond along the Yangtze River surrounded by farmland . . .and only 11 alligators lived inside of it.
It is believed that there may be as few as 150 animals left in the wild!
Sadly, humans are a main reason for the Chinese alligator’s decline. Their homes have been turned into rice paddies and many of these animals have been killed by eating rats that have poisoned by farmers.
Fortunately, there are many captive breeding programs that are working together to save this species.
Here are 5 fast facts to impress your friends about alligators:
1. Alligators are part of the the order Crocodylia, the same group as crocodiles, caimans, gharials, and Tomistomas.
2. Unlike the American alligator, the Chinese alligator is fully armored- even its belly and eyelids!
3. American alligators are the largest reptiles in North America, with males reaching up to 14.8 feet (4.5 meters) in length and 1,000 pounds (454 kilograms). They were once threatened with extinction, but are now off the endangered species list.
4. For some species, like the American alligator, temperature within the nest determines whether it’s a boy or a girl: a low nest temperature tends to produce females and a high nest temperature usually produces males.
5. Many think alligators have webbed feet to help them
swim, but their tails are made for that! Their feet actually allow them the walk in the mud without sinking!
Want to learn more about Chinese alligators? Check out this great video from Kamp Kenan
Until next time my friends, this is Ms. Mallory inviting you to . . .