|Adult alligator at Largo Central Nature Preserve|
However, they rarely bite even stupid humans. Problem gators are usually relocated by the state of Florida. Gators do give warning. They hiss and growl and snort and bellow. They are the most vocal of reptiles. Go to this page to listen to them. http://www.soundboard.com/sb/Alligator_sounds_audio
In the winter the alligators become less active. They might have a burrow on the bank of a river, above the water level, or an alligator hole below the water. They can lay at the bottom of water and still survive, as long as it is no cooler than 40 degrees. If the pond freezes, they might float up to the top where their nostrils can breathe. Then, when the ice melts, they can swim free. As they cannot breathe underwater, even in winter they have to come up for air at least once an hour.
Alligators are most active when the temperatures are between 82 and 92 degrees usually during the summer months and between dawn and dusk. April begins courting season; May to June is mating season. Between August and September, the babies hatch. There can be 20-60 eggs in a nest, but only about ten will survive their first year.
|Alligator on the banks of McKay Creek at the Florida Botanical Garden|
Alligators mostly eat fish, turtles, water birds, snakes and other alligators. Young alligators eat snails, insects, spiders, worms and larvae. It takes 9 to 14 years for an alligator to reach 6 feet, which is considered adulthood.
Alligators can't eat anything bigger than themselves, so the larger the gator, the more likely he will occasionally eat bigger mammals like raccoons, small dogs, cats, etc. On a warm night he might venture up to 170 ft from the water and attack prey on land, but it would have to be a huge gator to attack a rare deer, wild boar, bear, bobcat or a human.
|Alligator near the dog park at Walsingham Park|
You can watch them for hours laying motionless on the banks of streams with their eyes closed. They acturally have two eye layers. One for on land, the the other to protect their eyes underwater.
|Young Alligator at Sawgrass Park|
There are plenty of alligators all over Pinellas County, 1.25 million in Florida alone. They range from Texas along the gulf to Florida and as far north as North Carolina. The biggest one I have ever seen is the one below that I saw on a boat ride at the Deland Springs Park, north of Orlando, Florida.
|Huge gator in Deland, Florida|