Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure in Kansas announced the arrival of five baby American Alligators. They hatched on August 13 at St. Augustine Alligator Farm and went on display in the Reptile Building, “These young alligators are incredibly popular”, says Peter Burvenich, Curator at Rolling Hills. “They are quite intriguing to watch – especially when you think about how big they’ll become”.
The American Alligator is listed as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Historically, hunting decimated their population; the American alligator was listed as an endangered species by the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Subsequent conservation efforts have allowed their numbers to increase and the species was removed from the list in 1987.
As part of the zoo’s mission to provide fun and educational experiences surrounding the preservation of wildlife, the introduction of these popular reptiles makes an excellent addition. Once they are about a year old, they will go to another institution that can accommodate adult alligators, and Rolling Hills will get another group of hatchlings. All five hatchlings are viewable to the public in the reptile building located at the northern end of the zoo.
Read more Alligator facts after the fold:
Adult male American Alligators average 11 feet in length, females averaging 8.5 feet. The largest reported size was a male killed in 1890, reportedly measuring 19 feet in length. Wild alligators range from long and slender to short and robust, due to variations in growth rate, diet, and climate. Alligators have broad snouts, especially those in captivity. When the jaws are closed, the edge of the upper jaws covers the lower teeth which fit into depressions in the upper jaw. Their teeth number from 74 to 84.
When on land, the alligator moves either by sprawling or walking, the latter involving the reptile lifting its belly off the ground. In the water, alligators swim like fish; moving their pelvic regions and tails from side to side. American alligators have the strongest laboratory-measured bite of any living animal.