Special Sub-Topic: American Alligator Tales
|The American alligator is found wild in all of these states except for which one?|
Kentucky. While the largest number of American alligators are found in Florida and Louisiana, they have also established populations in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, and the southern tip of Missouri. They range and thrive farther from the equator than any other crocodile family species. They have not been found as far north as Kentucky.
|Who or what was Cabulitis?|
An American alligator that lived in a Latvian zoo for 72 years. Cabulitis, whose name translates in English to "sweet and gentle creature", resided at the Riga Zoo in Latvia from 1935 until his death in 2007. He was believed to be between one and three years old when he arrived there. In the wild, alligators are believed to live up to 50 years. As the Romans had no contact with the new world, alligators would not have fought in the Coliseum, and while Saddam had exotic pets, alligators were not among them.
|The American alligator was considered an endangered species in the year 2008.|
f. The American alligator was removed from the endangered list in 1987, when it was determined that the species had made a full recovery. There were over 2,000,000 American alligators in the wild by 2008. Florida and Louisiana alone have populations of over 1,000,000 each. This comeback is due in part to the limits on hunting; the limited demand in the marketplace for alligator skin products; the lack of a natural predator; and the alligator's ability to adapt to non-tropical climates.
|Gastroliths are commonly found in the stomachs of alligators. What are they?|
Stones. Gastroliths are smooth stones that alligators swallow to aid in digestion. They may also help give alligators buoyancy in water. Fish, turtles, mammals, waterfowl and other reptiles have been found inside alligator stomachs.
|What was allegedly found on Marsh Island, Louisiana, by Edward McElhaney of the Tabasco sauce company during the early 1900's?|
An alligator measuring 19' 2". If McElhaney's claim is true, then this would be the largest alligator ever found. Unfortunately, there is no existing documentation, such as photographs, skin, or skeleton to verify this. The official Everglades website states that the largest alligator found in the reserve was 17'5, while the Florida Wildlife Commission claims the largest ever in the state was 14'5. There are no tree dwelling crocodiles. White, or albino alligators are known to exist, primarily in captivity.
|What does an alligator do that is of great benefit to other wildlife?|
Create a "gator hole". Alligators dig holes to reach deeper ground water. In times of drought, these become an oasis for other reptiles, birds and mammals. Without these gator holes, many other animals would perish. In addition, alligators create peat moss while digging their nests, which creates nesting sites for birds. While being extremely protective of their own nests, alligators do not protect other species, and they do not create tunnels.
|In most of the American alligator's territory, which animal is considered the apex predator?|
American alligator. Alligators are known to prey on adult members of the other species listed. The adult American alligator does not have a natural predator. Juvenile alligators are vulnerable to other predators, such as herons, raccoons, snakes and some fish.
|What happened between May 10 and May 14, 2006, that is unprecedented in documented alligator history?|
Three people were killed in three separate alligator attacks. Three women were killed in three separate attacks in three different counties in Florida during that five day period. As the Florida Wildlife Commission documented only 25 fatal attacks between 1948 and 2005 (less then 1 every two years)this was definitely a rare and unprecedented situation. Alligators, unlike some species of crocodile, tend to avoid humans. Most attacks occur when a human stumbles into an alligator.
|Where did the word 'alligator' come from?|
A corruption of the Spanish term for the lizard. The early Spanish explorers encountered these creatures, which they considered to be giant lizards. Their term of el lager would, over time, become alligator. The Spanish term for the devil is el diablo.
|The California Alligator Farm, which existed until 1953, claimed to feature all of the following except what?|
An alligator trapeze act. The park did claim to have a 500 year old alligator, which, with what is known and documented regarding alligator life spans, most certainly was not true. Photographs in a surviving brochure do show children riding upon an alligator large enough to swallow them whole, and other alligators indeed sliding down a chute. There were no claims of alligators on a trapeze.
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