If you’re caught unaware at the edge of the water or in the water, which is a more likely scenario, you have less chance to evade the alligator. In the water, the alligator has home field advantage; it’s got you right where it wants you. So a water attack is a worst-case scenario. If you feel the alligator’s jaw clamp down on you, resist. Don’t waste time trying to pry its jaw open, which is nearly impossible. Instead scream, splash and generally create as much confusion for the alligator as possible. As soon as you can get a clear shot, drive your thumb or fingers directly into its eye. This is the most sensitive area of the alligator’s body, and the combination of pain and surprise should be enough to cause the alligator to release you.
The alligator then juggles the prey around in its mouth so that it can toss it down its throat. The massive jaw that allows it to hang onto its prey so securely also prevents it from easily chewing and swallowing. This is one reason why large prey presents a problem for an alligator. To eat something large, the alligator must rip pieces from the prey and swallow them separately. And it doesn’t like that task.
Alligators are fresh-water animals and can be found in lakes, ponds, rivers and irrigation canals. Because they are cold-blooded reptiles, alligators are not big fans of cold weather. This limits their range to the warmer, wetter areas in the southeastern United States from Texas to North Carolina.
Even though alligators are huge and cold-blooded, they can be quite fast, with a top speed of 11 MPH (17 KPH) over short distances. For comparison, the fastest humans running at world-record times in a 100 meter dash, are running about 20 MPH (32 KPH), but a typical adult human is no faster than an alligator. This makes it possible for an alligator to escape from most situations on land and get into the water.
They live in freshwater environments like swamps, ponds, marshes, rivers, and lakes.
Chinese alligators can be found in the Yangtze River valley in China. They are extremely endangered, however, so they are found more often in zoos than in the wild.
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The lifespan of American Alligators in captivity can be 65-80 years. .
“The original plan was for a stay of two years,” said National Aquarium general manager Rachel Haydon.