Life Cycle of an Alligator, Science Game for Kids

How many young alligators are born at a time? Where do they live? Learn about the life cycle of an alligator in this science game for kids. Alligators are reptiles with an interesting life cycle. They are also crocodilians. Alligators lay their eggs in early summer.
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Facts about alligators to help with the game
Alligators select an area rich in vegetation, leaves, and mud, and then use their tail to collect the materials necessary to build a nest. This nest is usually located between three and five meters from the water’s edge. The eggs are heavily calcified, with gradual crystal dissolution. Acidic metabolic by-products produced by the nest bacteria contribute to the weakening of the eggshell, thereby facilitating hatching. Read More

Alligators typically lay their eggs in June or July. Mother alligators cover the eggs during incubation. The female alligator communicates with the eggs to know when they are ready to hatch. When they hatch, alligators are fully carnivores and feed on small animals living in water. The young remain with their mother for their first year. Juveniles hatched from other nests form a group called a pod and will stay with their mother for at least one year.
The juvenile phase of an alligator begins when the animal is under six years old and about 1.8 meters long. Females grow slower than males. Both males and females reach sexual maturity at around seven to eight feet, although females are the larger of the two. Alligators in Louisiana grow at an average rate of 30 cm per year during their first six years of life. Captive alligators may grow as much as 150 cm a year, which is much faster than the growth rate of their wild counterparts.
In the spring, both male and female alligators search for mates. After locating the right partner, the alligators will exchange pheromones to attract a mate. Once the mate is found, the female will lay eggs. Breeding season in the United States occurs only once a year, from April to June. During this time, the babies are protected by the mother for up to a year.
An alligator’s lifespan is about thirty to fifty years, while a crocodile’s is about 70 years. They start their lives as eggs in a swampy shore and reach sexual maturity at six feet. They then reach sexual maturity and begin to reproduce. After a year of development, the female will lay between ten and 70 eggs, and the life cycle will begin again.
During the first year of development, an alligator hatchling is much smaller and lighter than an adult. It is also spotted, and American alligator hatchlings have stripes across their bodies. The alligator hatchling’s first year is filled with predators, and as such, the majority of them will not make it to adulthood. Although the male alligator is sexually mature at around 10 years of age, the female does not reach this point until she reaches six feet. Read Less