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Allan R. Woodward

Alligator Research Biologist Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission Gainesville, Florida 32601
Dennis N. David


Alligator Management Section Leader Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission Gainesville, Florida 32601

Fig. 1. American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis

Damage Prevention and Control Methods

The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis, Fig. 1) is the most common of two crocodilians native to the United States and is one of 22 crocodilian species worldwide. The other native crocodilian is the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus). Caimans (Caiman spp.), imported from Central and South America, are occasionally released in the United States and can survive and reproducein Florida. The American alligator is distinguished from the American crocodile and caiman by its more rounded snout and black and yellow-white coloration. American crocodiles and caimans are olive-brown in color and have more pointed snouts. American alligators and crocodiles are similar in physical size, whereas caimans are 40% smaller.

None are registered.

Bulkheads along edgesof lakes and waterways. Wire mesh fences.
Habitat Modification

None are registered.

Baited hooks and trip-snare traps are most effective.

Minimize emergent vegetation. Drain ponds and borrow pits where appropriate and permitted.

Hunt during the day or night with rifles or crossbows.
Other Methods

Prodding or other harassment can increase wariness.Hunting pressure increases wariness and avoidance of people.

Hunt with detachable-head harpoons or handheld, breakaway pole snares. Capture with snatch hooks or tongs.

None are registered.
Cooperative Extension Division Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources University of Nebraska - Lincoln United States Department ofAgriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Animal Damage Control Great Plains Agricultural Council Wildlife Committee


The American alligator is found in wetlands throughout the coastal plain of the southeastern United States. Viable alligator populations are found in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and NorthCarolina. The northern range is limited by low winter temperatures. Alligators are rarely found south of the Rio Grande drainage. Alligators prefer fresh water but also inhabit brackish water and occasionally venture into salt water. American crocodiles are scarce and, in the United States, are only found in the warmer coastal waters of Florida, south of Tampa and Miami. Caimans rarely survivewinters north of central Florida and reproduce only in southernmost Florida.

fish and turtles comprise most of the diet. Recent studies in Florida and Louisiana indicate that cannibalism is common among alligators. Alligators readily take domestic dogs and cats. In rural areas, larger alligators take calves, foals, goats, hogs, domestic waterfowl, and occasionally, fullgrown cattle and horses.her hatchlings against intruders and stay with them for up to 1 year, but gradually loses her affinity for them as the next breeding season approaches. Growth rates of alligators are variable and dependent on diet, temperature, and sex. Alligators take 7 to 10 years to reach 6 feet (1.8 m) in Louisiana, 9 to 14 years in Florida, and up to 16 years in North Carolina. When maintained on farms underideal temperature and nutrition, alligators can reach a length of 6 feet (1.8 m) in 3 years. Alligators are not normally aggressive toward humans, but aberrant behavior occasionally occurs. Alligators can and will attack humans and cause serious injury or death. Most attacks are characterized by a single bite and release with resulting puncture wounds. Single bites are usually made by smaller...