Where Does The American Alligator Spend It’s Time?
The alligator is an amazing reptile, having survived almost unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs. Having been hunted almost to the brink of extinction, this reptile has mad an amazing comeback in recent years, inhabiting almost every body of water in Florida. The American Alligator is found only in the southeastern part of the United States with the highest populations found in Florida and Louisiana. We actually have a saying here in Florida, “if there’s a puddle then there is probably a gator in it!”
Alligators inhabit primarily fresh water to brackish water areas, although they can occasionally be found in salt water. However, alligators lack the salt extracting glands of crocodiles and are unable to survive in salt water for extended periods of time. Alligators can be found in a range of habitats, including: marshland, swamps, river, lakes and ponds.
Alligators spend most of their lives in fresh water and need subtropical climates in which to survive. Florida is unique in that it’s the only place in the world where you can see both alligators and crocodiles in the same place: the Everglades.
How Important Are The Alligators To Our Ecosystem?
The alligator is a very important part of our wildlife heritage, and plays an extremely important part in Florida’s ecosystem. During the dry season, alligators dig deep depressions or holes into the much of the marsh that then become small ponds or “gator holes.” These gator holes provide safe havens for not only alligators, but other aquatic wildlife, and become a part of the local landscape as habitats. In the wet season, the wildlife preserved in the gator holes actually provides the seed stock for replenishing and repopulating the rejuvenated marshlands. Because of this interesting cycle, alligators often have been dubbed the “keepers of the ‘Glades.”