We love gators, yet we also fear them. Nevertheless, we enjoy sharing our world with them! The American alligator is iconic and for good reason. Here are five reasons why we enjoy our scaly friends and why alligators are the coolest reptiles in South Florida.
#1 They Can Climb!
Say it isn’t so, but alligators can actually climb fences! Most don’t, however, although that’s probably not very reassuring to the thousands of folks living near water in Florida. Alligators are spotted in residential areas all the time – on the back patio, in the swimming pool, even at the golf course. The fact that they can raise their bellies off the ground and high tail it at a pace of about 11 miles per hour on land is simply too cool to overlook.
#2 They’re over 35 Million Years Old
Were alligators and dinosaurs friends? Perhaps, but the modern gator has been on the planet longer than humans, and is one of the oldest living species in existence. “Living fossils”, as they’re sometimes called, have been surviving on the planet for over 35 million years. If you’ve ever wanted to study these big guys up lose, our Big Gator Fossil Dig is a Gatorventure you don’t want to miss. It let’s scientists of all ages become Paleontologists, excavating and identifying real bones. It’s an experience you’ll want to make sure you check out when you come for a visit.
#3 Their Bite Force is over 2,000 lbs
Impressive for sure. But interestingly, as strong as an alligator bite may be, the muscle they use to open the mouth is weak by comparison. So much so that a simple wrap made of duct tape or a strong human grip can hold the jaws shut. Nevertheless, probably not something you want to test.
#4 Their deadliest weapon (other than their teeth) is their tail
An alligator’s tail serves a few important purposes. First, at nearly half the length of its body and super strong, a gator tail is an incredible weapon against predators. Alligators also have lightning quick reflexes, and a strong tail is a pretty intimidating weapon. Second, a tail makes a great shovel for digging water holes during the dry season. And finally, gators use their tails as props in the water to help them get around. Avid swimmers, with the help of a strong tail, most gators can swim up to 20 miles per hour in the water.
#5 They are able to hunt from the time they hatch.
If you’ve ever been to our Hatching Festival, you’ve seen this first hand! From posturing to ‘baby’ death rolls, they’re read straight from the shell. Talk about independence. Baby alligators, also called hatchlings, can feed themselves as soon as they crack out of the shell! At just over 6 inches long, juveniles can eat about 23 percent of their body weight. Boy is that cool! Nevertheless, mom usually keeps an eye on her babies for a couple of years before they wander off to start their own families.
Love alligators? When you’re ready to see a few of these super cool reptiles in action, be sure to visit Gatorama – a family fun destination close to Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and in the heart of Glades County. Not sure how to find us? Just pull up your map and type “GATORAMA US HWY 27 PALMDALE, FL” and it will bring you to our doorstep.