Young American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) feed on insects, small fish and frogs. As they get bigger, they begin to take larger prey, such as turtles and water birds. Adults feed on land as well as in water. They are opportunistic feeders, attacking anything that comes within reach. They even leap up to snatch birds perching on low branches.

During cold weather, American alligators become dormant in burrows dug into mud banks. In dry periods, they will travel long distances to find water, sometimes ending up in swimming pools.

During courtship the female makes a mound of vegetation and mud above the high waterline and lays her eggs in a hole in the top. When she hears calling from hatchlings, she breaks open the nest and carries her young to the water. The young stay with the mother for about a year.

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