Official website for the City of Aurora, Illinois. Mayor Robert J. O'Connor

Fact Sheet - American Alligator

American Alligator

Common Name

American Alligator

Scientific Name

Alligator mississippiensis


  • Alligators can reach a size of between 13-18 feet.
  • Alligators usually have between 74-80 teeth.
  • Alligators are found primarily in freshwater swamps and marshes, as well as small rivers and lakes.
  • Alligators eat a wide variety of food ranging from insects, small fish and frogs, to turtles and small mammals as they grow.
  • Alligator populations were almost decimated in the early 20th century due primarily to hunting. Their hides (skins) were used for various leather products. In the 1960's laws were enacted to protect them, and their recovery has been remarkable.
  • Alligators hibernate in the winter in burrows that they dig in the banks of rivers/lakes.
  • Alligators have a broad snout, which distinguishes them from Crocodiles who have a narrow snout.