Monday, October 17, 2011

Chinese Alligator

Chinese Alligator in Captivity
Did you know that there are only two species of Alligator in the entire world, and that they live in completely opposite hemispheres? The large American Alligator that we all know has a much smaller cousin, the Chinese Alligator, which grows to lengths of only about 5 ft! They are one of the smallest Crocodilians, and also one of the most rare.

Native only to China, the Chinese Alligator is Critically Endangered. It is estimated that there are only around 130 left in the wild! The severe drop in numbers is due to loss of habitat; the marshes that they live in are being converted to agricultural land. Luckily they have been bred successfully in captivity, and some have even been reintroduced back to the wild!

Chinese Alligators hunt at night and consume molluscs, fish, and other small water-living animals.

One interesting fact about these Alligators is that the female not only guards her 10-40 eggs every year, but she digs them out when they are ready to hatch and actually remains near her children throughout the winter.

IUCN Status : Critically Endangered
Location : China
Size : Length up to 5ft (1.5m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Reptilia -- Order : Crocodilia
Family : Alligatoridae -- Genus : Alligator -- Species : A. sinensis

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