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Alligator trapping, control and removal

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Alligator Caught in Trap
Captured Alligator

Alligators are native to only two countries: the United States and China.

American alligators are found in the southeastern United States: all of Florida and Louisiana, the southern parts of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, coastal South and North Carolina, Eastern Texas, the southeastern corner of Oklahoma and the southern tip of Arkansas. The majority of American alligators inhabit Florida and Louisiana, with over a million alligators in each state. American alligators live in freshwater environments, such as ponds, marshes, wetlands, rivers, lakes, and swamps, as well as brackish environments. Southern Florida is the only place where both alligators and crocodiles live side by side.

The alligator is notorious for its bone crushing bite. In addition, the alligator has been described as a 'living fossil from the age of reptiles, having survived on earth for 200 million years'.

Tracks
4.5' Baby Alligator
Alligator Foot
Alligator Foot

Damage by alligators is usually limited to injuries or death to humans or domestic animals. Most alligator bites occur in Florida, which has documented approximately 140 unprovoked attacks from 1972 to 1991, or about 7 per year. Since 1972, 5 deaths have been positively attributed to alligators. Historically, nonfatal attacks have also been documented in South Carolina (8), Louisiana (2), Texas (1), Georgia (1), and Alabama (1).

An average American alligator's weight and length is 800 pounds (360 kg) and 13 feet (4.0 m) long, but can grow to 14.5 feet (4.4 m) long and weigh 1,032 pounds (468 kg). According to the Everglades National Park website, the largest alligator ever recorded in Florida was 17 feet 5 inches (5.3 m), although according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission web site the Florida state record for length is a 14 feet 5/8 inches (4.28 m) male from Lake Monroe in Seminole County. The Chinese alligator is smaller, rarely exceeding 7 feet (2.1 m) in length. Alligators have an average of 75 teeth.[

The American alligator is federally classified as “threatened due to similarity of appearance” to other endangered and threatened crocodilians. This provides federal protection for alligators, but allows state-approved management and control programs. Alligators can be legally taken only by individuals with proper licenses or permits. Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas have problem or nuisance alligator control programs that allow permitted hunters to kill or facilitate the removal of nuisance alligators. Other states use state wildlife officials to remove problem animals.

Alligator Distribution

Distribution of American Alligator in the US

Alligators are exclusively carnivorous and prey upon whatever creatures are most available. Juvenile alligators (less than 4 feet [1.2 m]) eat crustaceans, snails, and small fish; subadults (4 to 6 feet [1.2 to 1.8 m]) eat mostly fish, crustaceans, small mammals, and birds; and adults (greater than 6 feet [1.8 m]) eat fish, mammals, turtles, birds, and other alligators. Diets are range-dependent; in Louisiana coastal marshes, adult alligators feed primarily on nutria (Myocastor coypus), whereas in Florida and northern Louisiana, rough 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, full-grown cattle and horses.

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