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American Alligator

Alligators are opportunistic feeders. Their diets include prey species that are abundant and easily accessible. Juvenile alligators eat primarily insects, amphibians, small fish, and other invertebrates. Adult alligators eat rough fish, snakes, turtles, small mammals, and birds.

Female alligators rarely exceed 10 feet in length, but males can grow much larger. The Florida State Record for length is a 14 foot 3-1/2 inch male from Lake Washington in Brevard County. The Florida record for weight is a 1,043 pound (13 feet 10-1/2 inches long) male from Orange Lake in Alachua County. 

Alligators construct “gator holes” with their large sweeping tails that retain water during periods of drought. These holes provide water and foraging space for many other species such as wading birds. In turn alligators may forage on the species attracted to the “hole”. Other species, like the red-bellied slider, use alligator nests for their own egg deposition. Paths used by alligators in sawgrass widen to form creeks, which in turn help to flood marshes during rainy seasons.