Trivia Tuesday: American Alligator Facts

american alligator

Every Tuesday, we'll share a few fun animal facts with you from experts all over the country.

Today's expert: The Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Zoo Education Team. The Zoo Educators at Busch Gardens believe in “edu-tainment” and each day, this team finds new ways to teach guests about the more than 2,000 animals that call the Florida theme park home.

  • Alligators make great moms. Most reptiles don’t care for their young, but female alligators will care for their babies for up to two years. Alligator moms are able to carry their offspring around in their mouths to keep them safe.
  • Alligators don’t have much strength to open their jaws. Alligators are known for quickly and powerfully snapping their mouths closed. However, they don’t have much strength left to open their mouths. Their jaws can be held together relatively easily once they’re shut.
  • An alligator will grow hundreds of teeth in its lifetime.  With such strong jaws, alligators will lose many teeth as they tear apart prey. As one tooth falls out, another one will quickly fill the gap.
  • Alligators have great underwater vision. While swimming, the alligator’s eyes are covered by a special membrane that helps them see their surroundings clearly.
  • An alligator has mini solar panels under its skin. Small bone plates called osteoderms absorb the sun’s energy and warm the blood. These panels are also thick like a suit of armor to protect the alligator.

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