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Meet the Coolest Reptile: Alligator in South Florida

florida alligator everglades holiday park

Reptiles. They’re everywhere. In South Florida, we’re lucky to have one of the coolest - the American alligator. With nearly a million alligators living in the state, this is one resident you’re likely to see if you spend any length of time in the area. What is it about this iconic reptile that we can’t seem to get enough of? With lightning-quick reflexes and reputations that precede them, alligators are pretty extraordinary, but if you’re looking to get a better understanding of them, here are impressive truths about one of the coolest reptiles in South Florida.

Hanging With Dinosaurs?

In Florida, we like to think of our gators as modern-day dinosaurs. There’s evidence to support the idea that their closest living relatives roamed the Earth millions of years ago. The Alligator genus entered evolution 37 million years ago, and the species we see living today may date back as far as 14 million years ago! The American alligator has a tongue-twisting scientific name - Alligator Mississippiensis - and is one of about twenty-five crocodilians in the world. These include those found in China along with fifteen or so tropical crocodiles and a few alligator-like caimans. How many exist in the world? Scientists are unsure, but in Florida alone, biologists estimate there are close to one million and another 4 million in the southeastern United States region.

A Species Misunderstood?

Like it or not, life in Florida involves alligators. Luckily, most long-term residents understand the important role alligators play in not only the state’s heritage but also, in maintaining the health of our wetlands. There’s no question, Floridians must share their state with this incredible reptile, but the key to a peaceful existence is knowledge. Did you know it’s illegal to feed an alligator, or that they can climb? Startling for sure, but facts indeed. In truth, most gators don’t become a problem unless provoked or threatened, but a little knowledge goes a long way in keeping you safe. As the human population continues to grow and more people choose to make the sunshine state home, the key to avoiding conflict with one of the oldest reptiles on Earth is understanding where they live, how they behave, and how to coexist peacefully.

Ready to Come Face to Face With Alligators in the Everglades?

If you’re considering introducing yourself to Florida’s most popular reptile, there’s no better place to do it than in the Florida Everglades. Everglades Holiday Park provides tours, gator shows, animal encounters, and more! There’s only one Everglades, and only one way to see it!

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