Babcock Ranch is home to several of Florida’s native wildlife. One of the most popular animals to see at Babcock Ranch is the alligator.
Alligators are abundant in Florida, with about 1.3 million currently residing in the state. Especially in Southwest Florida, gators can easily be spotted around freshwater lakes.
While they were once on the brink of extinction, the state’s conservation efforts have helped preserve them as they are an important part of Florida’s ecosystem. Babcock Ranch provides the unique experience of being able to see alligators in their natural habitat.
Want to know more about alligators in Florida? Find out more here!
What different types of alligators are there?
There are two types of alligator species: the American (these are the ones you’ll find in Florida) and the Chinese. Crocodiles are similar to alligators but different families.
Alligators have a wider, rounded U-shaped snout, while crocodiles have a more pointed V-shaped snout. Crocodiles favor saltwater areas while alligators prefer freshwater and brackish water habitats. Florida is one of the only places where alligators and crocodiles co-exist, although crocodiles are not nearly as common as alligators.
Where are alligators found in the US?
American alligators inhabit most of the Southeast United States. They are primarily found in Louisiana, Florida, and Georgia.
The largest population of gators lives in Florida, with an estimated quarter of the alligator population residing there. They can be found in freshwater rivers, lakes, swamps, and marshes.
What are some of the alligator’s physical & sensory features?
As previously mentioned, gators have a wide, rounded U-shaped snout. They can grow up to 800 pounds and 13 feet long on average. There is no definite way to tell apart females from males unless you examine them, but females do tend to be smaller than males.
Alligators have strong senses compared to other reptiles. They have an excellent sense of hearing and a well-developed inner ear. They also have a heightened sense of smell due to extrasensory organs inside the snout.
They have excellent vision! They can see color and have night vision. Alligators don’t have vocal cords. They can often be heard giving a growling sound, which is made when gators suck air into their lungs and blow it out to produce these sounds.
What do alligators eat?
Alligators primarily eat fish, birds, turtles, and various other mammals and reptiles. Depending on their size, alligators have been found to eat large prey such as deer or bear, and even other alligators.
They try to consume their prey in one bite, but for larger prey, they typically drown it by spinning it violently in the water – a technique known as the “death roll”.
Do alligators attack people?
Alligators, unlike crocodiles, do not regard humans as prey and do not actively hunt them. Attacks on humans from crocodiles have happened in Florida due to the loss of habitat, and behaviors of humans such as feeding them or harassing them.
How can I safely see alligators?
There are several places in Florida where you can see alligators safely and observe them in their natural habitat. Babcock Ranch offers guided eco-tours 7 days a week where you can travel through the various ecosystems and see a variety of wildlife, including alligators!
Click here to book a tour today!