American Alligator

Houston Zoo


The average size for an adult female American alligator is 8.2 feet, and the average size for a male is 11.2 feet. Exceptionally large males can reach a weight of nearly half a ton.

Zoo Diet

At the Zoo, the American alligator is fed rats and occasionally chickens and rabbits.

Can live up to 50 years in the wild


Both males and females reach sexual maturity when they are about six feet long, a length attained at about ten to 12 years. Breeding takes place during the night, in shallow waters. Males roar to attract females and to ward off other males. The male circles the female and mounts. Courtship starts in April, with mating occurring in early May.


The American alligator is found from North Carolina to the Rio Grande in Texas. Alligators are usually found in freshwater, in slow-moving rivers. They are also found in swamps, marshes, and lakes. They can tolerate salt water for only brief periods because they do not have salt glands.