By Emy and Ms. Laine
Alligators are ancient reptiles that have been around since the time of the dinosaurs. The American Alligator is native to Louisiana where it makes its home in freshwater environments like rivers, lakes, marshes and swamps. Alligators are semi-aquatic meaning they spend time on land and in the water. These ferocious predators have bodies that are especially adapted to hunting in the water. They webbed feet and long tails to help them swim and nostrils and eyes on the top of their heads so they can
see and breath while staying
camouflaged under the murky water.
Alligators and other reptiles are
smarter than we give them credit for,
they just think a little differently than
mammals, so people assume they are
unintelligent. Most reptiles are not
maternal, meaning they don’t care
for their young. This is not the case
for alligators. In the summer time,
a female alligator will build a nest
and lay her eggs. She stays nearby
to watch over the clutch of eggs until they hatch. Mother alligators are distinctly maternal and fiercely protect their babies until they are big enough to take care of themselves.
Alligators teach us an important lesson in conservation. In the 1970s alligators were put on the threatened species list. The alligator population had dropped to a dangerously low level because people were over hunting them for their meat and hides. The Louisiana Department of Fish and Wildlife recognized that something had to be done to safe the species.
They created strict hunting regulations on the species and began working with local alligator farmers on a wild egg collection deal that increases the juvenile survival rate of these special creatures. Now a days, the Louisiana alligator population is booming, and by following the guidelines on hunting the species it will stay that way!