Alligators are powerful amphibious reptiles with a long mouth and sharp teeth. They belong to the Crocodylia, family: Alligatoridae, genus: Alligator group. Many of the Alligator species are extinct but they are still found in large numbers in the Americas but their numbers are dwindling in China and SE Asia, in particular in India and Thailand. The species that have become extinct are mcgrewi, mefferdi, olseni, and the prenasalis.
It must be understood that there is a difference between crocodiles and alligators. They are 2 distinct species and the crocodile belongs to the Crocodylidae family while Alligator belong to the Alligatoridaefamily. We must also know that there are no alligators in Africa which has only crocodiles. Crocodiles are known to eat people, but alligators attack but do not eat people. In addition crocodiles prefer sea water as they have special glands that can filter the salt of the sea water. Alligators are fresh water animals only.
An alligator is the most powerful of the amphibious animals and a laboratory test has concluded that the American Alligator has the most powerful bite which when measured came to almost 9400 Newton’s. The important species of alligators are enumerated below.
The Indian or South East Asian Alligator.
The Indian alligator is comparatively smaller in size to the American or African Alligator being anything from 3 to 8 feet long. It inhabits the rivers and lakes in this region. The rivers in the region in particular the Brahmaputra and the Cauvery are infested with alligators. Recently two Britishers on a rafting expedition in the Cauvery River in South India were attacked and killed by the Alligators.
The Indian Alligator is also referred to as the Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) and is native to India. It is one of the longest living crocodiles. This reptile thrives on fish and has a long snout. The Gharial is however under threat and its population has declined by 90% from 1946.
In contrast to the Indian Alligator that is bordering on extinction theAmerican Alligator is thriving. It also is larger and grows to a length of 1-13 feet and weighs anything from 170 to 800 pounds. American rivers notably the Mississippi is infested with alligators. In addition this beast is fairly represented in the wild the america states around teh Mississippi river. It is interesting to learn that almost 1.5 million alligators are crammed in Louisiana with Florida a close second. this is because of the many marshes and ponds there
While Florida is especially well-known for its alligator population, Louisiana is actually home to more of these lizard giants, with a population of approximately 1.5 - 2 million gators.
Alligators in Chins are almost extinct. Very few of the species have survived and efforts are on now to conserve the Chinese alligator. The Chinese alligator is much smaller than the American alligator, being closer in size to the Indian Alligator. It reaches a length of about 5 feet and weighs less than 100 pounds. As things stand just about 00 of this species remain in the waters of China.
Alligators are an endangered species
The alligator is under threat of extinction, particularly in China and SE Asia. One reason for the alligator becoming almost extinct in China is that the alligators were killed en masse for tonics and cures in Chinese traditional medicine. But now there is greater awareness and the Chinese are trying to breed the alligators in zoos and releasing them in the rivers.
American Alligators were also on the endangered species list at one time. They were first classified as an endangered species in 1967 by the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Due to legal protection, the population of gators has boomed in just 20 years. India has a lot to do to conserve the Gharial.