How Long Do Alligators Live in Captivity and in the Wild


Alligators are believed to be lurkers. They wait for their prey to come near them and once the prey is within reach, alligators lunge at it with a great speed. Alligators are often found jumping 5 feet out of water to snag small animals from low-hanging branches. Alligators are opportunistic feeders and they consume almost anything ranges from small mammals, reptiles, fish, and birds. The adult alligators often prey larger mammals such as deer. Alligators are cold-blooded reptiles and they seldom eat. Now we discuss the facts as to how long do alligators live in captivity as well as in the wild.

Like crocodiles, alligators are not easy to spot during the daytime since they spend time underwater and in burrows. However, they become active at night and are often seen by their shiny eyes.

How Long Do Alligators Live

One of the most important characteristics of alligator’s life history is the rate at which the alligators grow. There are number of factors that affect the growth of alligators such as the availability of prey, temperature, and periodic fluctuations in the water levels. For the reason that alligators are fed on regular basis in captivity as compared to those in the wild, they are likely to grow more rapidly. Unsurprisingly, the 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. Crocodiles are known to be the longest-living reptiles but scientists are not actually sure about the actual life span of crocodiles. Scientists are interested in measuring the actual life span of alligators once they (alligators) reach adulthood when they have few natural predators and the mortality rates are too low.

how long do alligators live | alligators lifespan
Alligator Hunt

The longest life span of alligators living in captivity is recorded of an American alligator that died at the age of 85 in Paris, 1937. The oldest Chinese alligator lived was recorded at 60 – 70 years. According to researchers, alligators are not the Methuselahs for which they are generally known for; besides, less than 10% of the young live up to two years old. However, the average life span of alligators in the wild is estimated at 50 years. Alligators fancy living in fresh water while crocodiles can bear salt water. Alligators are strong territorial animals as they defend their territories actively. Alligators are solitary animals.


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