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KEY LARGO ALLIGATORS

American Alligator - Alligator Mississippiensis
Alligator
Characteristics
Range
Habitat
Diet
Life Cycle
Behavior

 Classification

 Phylum: Chordata
 Class: Reptilia
 Order: Crocodilia 
 Family: Alligatoridae
 Genus: Alligator


Alligator

  Characteristics
AlligatorThe American alligator is a member of the crocodile family, whose members are living fossils from the Age of Reptiles, having survived on earth for 200 million years. Alligators' trace their ancestors back to the age of the dinosaur.  It is one of a handful of reptile species that survived from the  Mesozoic Era some 200 million years ago.Alligators are one animal that has changed very little since the prehistoric days.The American alligator is the largest reptile in North America. It has a long armored body with thick scales or  bony plates called osteoderms or scutes. The average size for an adult female is just under 10 feet, while the adult male usually falls between 13 to 15 feet). American alligators reaching lengths of 16 to 20 feet have been reported in the past, but there have been no recent recordings equaling those lengths. Almost black in color, the it has prominent eyes and nostrils with coarse scales over the entire body. It has a large, long head with visible upper teeth along the edge of the jaws. Its front feet have 5 toes, while rear feet have 4 toes that are webbed. Capable of reaching lengths over 13 feet and weighing over 600 pounds, alligators have a crushing power of 3,000 psi in their jaws. Despite their appearance, alligators are extremely quick and agile. They are capable of amazingly fast bursts of speed.

AlligatorThe alligator has up to 80 teeth in its mouth at a time. When its teeth wear down, new ones will grow. Over an alligators lifetime, it may go through 2,000-3,000 teeth!Growth rates vary with temperature and food availability. The name alligator comes from the Spanish word, el lagarto, which means lizard.

  Range
DISTRIBUTION - Southeastern United States: Alabama, Arkansas, North & South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas. The range of the American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) extends south from coastal swamps in North and South Carolina to the tip of southern Florida, then west along the Gulf Coast to the mouth of the Rio Grande. Alligators range inland throughout the southern coastal flatland.

  Habitat
Alligators are carnivorous and live along the edges of relatively large bodies of water, such as lakes, swamps, and rivers. They dig burrows in which they escape from danger and in which they hibernate during cold weather.Mature female alligators move from interior marshes to open deep-water areas during the spring to mate. Immature alligators and mature male alligators tend to remain in these open deep-water area year around.

  Diet
An agile swimmer, the American alligator often floats or swims with only its eyes and nostrils exposed. Alligators are carnivorous, and will eat anything they can catch, including fish, turtles, lizards, snakes, small mammals, water birds, crustaceans and other alligators. Alligators are opportunistic feeders. Their diets include prey species that are abundant and easily accessible. Juvenile alligators eat primarily insects, amphibians, small fish, and other invertebrates. Adult alligators eat rough fish, snakes, turtles, small mammals, and birds.It does most of its hunting in the water. It swallows small prey whole. It drags larger prey underwater and drowns it.

  Life Cycle
AlligatorReproduction: The point at which alligators reach sexual maturity is not governed by age so much as it is size. An alligator will usually become sexually mature at about six feet long and many times this growth will take ten to twelve years although it is quicker in captivity. The breeding season for gators starts in April and it is very much involved. Touching, rubbing, bubble blowing and vocalizations are a part of the courtship. Actual mating occurs in the water using a coitus method. Because male alligators are polygamous and may service up to ten partners in one season, they become very territorial and will defend their property fiercely. The female will begin to build a nest after fertilization where she can keep the eggs. She will lay 40-45 eggs at a time in late June or early July and they will take about 65 days to incubate. The female will defend her nest and her young for two to three years from their many predators and it isn't until the babies are at least four feet long that they will be free from predators with man being the exception.

AlligatorReproduction: A mound nester, laying a variable numbers of eggs. An adult female is capable of laying up to 60 eggs or more. The courtship between alligators starts in late April, with mating occuring in early May. Eggs will then be laid in mid-June, however every population varies with the tempurature. After about 65-75 days the hatchlings will emerge. Mother alligators then guard and protect the nest and hatchlings, very strong maternal behaviour is shown by this creature.

Once the young alligators hatch, the female carries them in her mouth down to the water. Once the young alligators are in the water, they form groups or pods. The female sometimes carries the young alligators on her back or in her mouth! Young alligators eat insects, shrimp, tadpoles, frogs and small fish. Young alligators are eaten by large fish, birds, raccoons, bobcats and even other alligators. The female aggressively defends her young during their first year. In the wild, the American alligator can live to be 35 years old. In captivity it can live to be 50 years old.

  Behavior

AlligatorUnlike other reptiles, female alligators will protect young for up to two years after hatching. The first two years are the most critical in the life of an alligator. Eighty percent or more may fall victim to wading birds, raccoons, bobcats, otters, snakes, large bass and even larger alligators. Once an alligator exceeds four feet, it is relatively safe from predators, but may still be vulnerable to cannibalism.

Alligators are large, semi-aquatic carnivorous reptiles with four legs and a huge tail. The tail is half the animal's length; it helps propel the alligator through the water, is used to make pools of water during the dry seasons (gator holes), is used as a weapon, and stores fat that the alligator will use for nourishment during the winter. Alligators are cold blooded (ectothermic). Because alligators are cold blooded their body rates are slowed down during the winter months to the point where they can no longer catch food efficiently. For this reason alligators enter underground holes and remain dormant through the winter months. Alligators, being cold-blooded, do not have to eat very often. Once a week is a typical feeding schedule for alligators living in the wild. Excess calories are stored in fat deposits at the base of the alligator's tail. Incredibly, by burning fat reserves, it is possible for an alligator to last more than two years between feedings


 

Nearly hunted to extinction . . . 
Historically, the Florida alligator population was threatened by habitat loss and excessive illegal hunting The hunt for alligator hide began as around 1855, when alligator hide boots, shoes, handbags, etc. became fashionable in Paris. Since 1870 it is estimated that nearly 10 million alligators have been killed by hunters and poachers from 1870 to the present time. 

Humans are the American alligators main threat to survival. They are hunted for their skin, for leather goods, and for their meat. Before hunting was controlled in 1970 an estimated 10 million alligators were killed for their skins.

In the United States, the alligator was added to the Endangered Species list in 1967. Today, its population has increased and it is listed as a threatened species. It is listed as threatened, not because its numbers are dangerously low, but because it looks so much like the American crocodile, which is an endangered species.

Growth Rate  How fast does an alligator grow?
Growth rates vary with temperature and food availability. The alligators in alligator farms are well fed and grow about 1 foot per year until they reach 11 foot.  After that, their growth slows tremendously.  In the wild, it is very difficult to estimate an alligator's age from its size.  An 11 foot alligator could be anywhere from 15 to 100 years old! 
Newborn alligators are about 8 to 10 inches  long and are vulnerable to many predators, including fish, birds, and larger crocodilians.  The average length of a mature alligator is 6 to 8 feet.

Alligators in the wild are believed to live 35 - 50 years. In captivity their lifespan may be significantly longer, perhaps 60-80 years. Currently, there are no scientific methods of analyzing an alligators age while it is alive. 

The longest recorded length for an alligator is 19' 2'. This animal was trapped in the early 1900's in the State of Louisiana. Most wild alligators do not get above 13 feet in length, and may weigh 600 pounds or more. 

Alligators and crocodiles jaws are hinged the same. Both animals hinge their jaws on the bottom, the top jaw is simply an extension of the skull. 

Alligators are not immune to snake poison. However, they do have extremely tough skin, and an armored back protected by bony plates called scutes. It is possible that this protection may prevent a
snake's fangs from penetrating the skin. 

Although the tail of the alligator is considered the prime cut, all the meat of the alligator is edible. 

Alligators can run at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. However that speed can only be maintained for a very short distance.

Are Alligators or Crocodiles seen in the waters of Key Largo?

Crocodiles are more likely to be found in the waters of Key Largo, which sits in close proximity to the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge on North Key Largo. Unlike their cousins in Africa and Australia, the endangered American crocodile is a docile creature. Its numbers in Florida are also small -- estimated at several hundred to 2,000, according to various sources. Alligators, which reside mostly in fresh water, can also make their way into the salty environments of the Florida Bay. But they are more likely to do so in the summer wet season, when runoff makes the bay's water a bit more palatable.


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There are crocodiles in south Florida, although they are more scarce than alligators. They can be found in the wilder parts of the Everglades National Park and rarely in the Keys. The crocodiles are usually found inhabiting more salty waters while the alligators are found in the more brackish and fresh waters. The difference between alligators and crocodiles that is most apparent is the appearance of the snout. In the alligator the snout is blunter while in the crocodile it is more pointed.

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OCEAN POINTE SUITE # 1307, KEY LARGO, FLORIDA - OCEANSIDE - MM 92

Ocean Pointe Vacation This upscale Condominium Resort is located directly on the Ocean in Key Largo. Offering a beautifully decorated condo, with two bedroom - two bath with whirlpool tubs for weekly and monthly rentals Ocean Pointe Suite is located,about one hour drive south from Miami international Airport,The hard Rock Cafe-Casino,the Art Deco South Beach and Miami shopping.
About 90 miles east of Key West.



Rates (in US Dollars )
Sep 01-Dec 15 ... $135/night .. $ 800/week. (3 night min)
Dec 16-Aug 31 ... $160/night .. $ 1020/week. (3 night min)
Holidays ........ $200/night .. $1200/week. (3 night min)
Special Events .. $200/night .. $1200/week. (3 night min)
Special Events includes Mini + Open Lobster Season.
20 % deposit required to make a reservation.
Refundable up to 30 days before arrival date.

Cleaning fee and 12.5% sales tax are already included.
Note: Until confirmed, rates are subject to change without notice.
 

 
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Key Largo is known as the "Diving Capital of the World" while Islamorada is called the "Sport Fishing Capital".
 
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A hurricane is a tropical system with maximum sustained winds of at least 74 mph. At the center of the hurricane is an "eye" that varies in size but is commonly 20 to 30 miles wide. While the storm itself may extend out from the eye several hundred miles, hurricane force winds (74 mph) routinely extend 50 to 100 miles out of the eye. Atlantic hurricanes "spin" in a counter clockwise rotation that is started by the rotation of the earth.

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Key Largo is known as the "Diving Capital of the World" while Islamorada is called the "Sport Fishing Capital".

Miami to Key West is one of the more memorable automobile tours. Drive the Overseas Highway across a 128 mile chain of subtropical islands.This chain of coral and limestone islands connected by 42 bridges. The waters ranging from aquamarine to deep blue and emerald green. With dazzling sunsets and sunrises. Just off U.S. 1 you can fine an underwater worlds of silent beauty, tropical birds, mangrove islands and the key deer. A prime vacation spot. A place where artists, writers, fishers, and retirees make their homes in the  fragile natural resources of the Florida Keys.

Fishing and kayaking are some of the many alluring outdoor adventures in the Upper Keys, a collection of 823 islands.

Your Upper Keys adventure and beach vacation features hiking, biking, kayaking, and some of the best snorkeling in the world! Not to mention a chance to relax on the beach and catch some sun. Explore the Florida Keys including historic and eccentric Key West, the Everglades National Park and the best of Florida’s state parks. Look for the hiden beauity of manatees, alligators, and thousands of exotic birds. Take an air boat ride or do some fishing.  


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Ocean Pointe Suites at Key Largo. Spread across 67 acres of the Florida Keys ... 2 Lighted tennis courts, large pool, private beach, kayaking, volleyball ...
Key Largo, the longest in the island chain, is a popular bedroom community and a favorite stop for diving,fishing,kayaking and other water sports .It is a window to nature.

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