The gender of an alligator is determined by the temperature during incubation. If it is 93 degrees Fahrenheit or above, the hatchlings will all develop into males. If the temperature is 86 degrees Fahrenheit or below, the hatchlings will all develop into females.
The hatchlings, about 6-8 inches long, sport yellow bands around their body and grow only about 3 to 8 inches a year. The mother protects them for their first year. The lifespan of a gator in the wild can range from 35-50 years.
Alligators have a variety of calls to declare territory, signal distress, threaten competitors, and locatemates. Although they have no vocal cords, alligators bellow loudly by sucking air into their lungs and blowing it out in intermittent roars. In addition to bellowing, alligators can growl, hiss, and make a cough-like sound called a chumpf
Alligators can range in color, but are normally dark green or black on the top with a white underside. On their backside, they are covered in “scutes,” which are bony plates located under the skin. This creates an armor which serves as protection for the gator by preventing its skin from being penetrated.
Gators can have up to 80 teeth at a time, with a new tooth growing in after the other has been worn down. They also have special flaps that cover the eyes, nose, ears, and throat when they are submerged in water.
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