Meet the Animals » Reptiles etc. » George
Mississippi Alligator Alligator mississippiensis - George
George came to the refuge when he was around 2 foot long, in 2002 he had been in the pet trade and the owner who purchased him thought he was a lizard and kept him in the bath, in the family bathroom. George lived in the Reptile House till he reached around 6 ft. He will always continue to grow therefore he has been moved into his new large enclosure in April 2014.
Mississippi Alligators are found in South-eastern United States: Alabama, Arkansas, North and South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. Primarily their habitat is freshwater swamps and marshes but also in rivers, lakes and smaller bodies of water, and they can tolerate a reasonable degree of saltwater for short periods of time. Adult males can reach up to 14.7 feet, even though there are unconfirmed reports of larger males up to 19.8 feet – this is the largest though there are doubts about its accuracy.
Their diet and the climate they live in and other factors determines their body shape and this can vary from long and thin to short and stocky with a broad snout.
They eat fish, insects and frogs as juveniles, eventually the large adults can tackle nearly all aquatic and terrestrial prey that comes within range.
They have a life span of 40-50 years in captivity with 30-35 years in the wild. They can be quite vocal and will hiss at intruders.
Did you know the word alligator is derived from the Spanish el lagarto which means the lizard. They also have a total number of 74 to 80 teeth as a mature adult, with around 25 sets of teeth over their life, this is done to keep them razor sharp and replace broken teeth.