How Long Do Alligators Live in Captivity and in the Wild

The alligator belongs to the family Alligatoridae and it is divided into two subspecies; American and Chinese alligator. They are probably one of the oldest living reptiles dating back to 37 million years ago. We know very little about how long do alligators live in the wild. However when the alligators reach adulthood they do not have many potential predators. As it turns out, they are likely to live up to their maximum age.

How Long Do Alligators Live | Alligators Lifespan

Although crocodiles are the longest living-reptiles alligators are not! Here we discuss not only the lifespans of alligators but also the fact that why the mortality rate is so high in alligators. Scientists have the measured the maximum age in captive alligators not in the wild specimen.

American alligators grow more quickly than the Chinese alligators under the same conditions. However, during hibernation, alligators seldom grow in size; they usually grow in size while they are active.

American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

The average lifespan of an American alligator is 50 years in the wild. The oldest American alligator died in Paris and it lived 85 years in captivity.

Alligators died in large numbers in Lake Griffin, Florida between 1994 and 1997. Scientists thought that their deaths could well be caused by unknown factors. They found around 439 dead American alligators most of them were adults. Research also showed that alligators died more in spring than in any other season. Scientists observed that alligators were too lazy to give any response to humans. Besides they were also slow in swimming. They may have died of drowning.

See also: What Do Alligators Eat

American alligators remain vulnerable to predators as long as they don’t reach adulthood. Once they become adults alligators defend themselves strongly. Alligators reach maturity at 10 – 12 years age. At this age the length measures up to six feet. They become apex predators when they are 5 – 6 feet long.

how long do alligators live | alligators lifespan
Alligator Hunt

Chinese Alligator (Alligator sinensis)

The maximum lifespan of a Chinese alligator is thought to be 50 to 60 years in captivity. According to one study the captive alligators live up to 50 years. However they will continue reproducing even at the age of 50 years.

They become inactive during winter. Alligators hide in burrows but they come out in the spring. In a bright sunny day Chinese alligators absorb heat to raise the body temperature. They will make their body warm so that they could come out at night. However alligators avoid being too hot and they move into the shades to regulate body temperature.

The alligator’s eggs are often consumed by predators such as wading birds, raccoons, fish, otters, and other large alligators. Adult alligators are also a great threat to the younger ones.

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