Recently, for one of our team building exercises, we went on an air boat swamp tour of Bayou Lafitte and the main attraction of the swamp tour was….of course the alligators. Thanks to our air boat tour guide, we got to learn quite a bit about the alligators living in the Lafitte wetlands and surrounding areas. For those of you who haven’t gotten out to Bayou Lafitte to meet the alligators yet, here are my Top #5 Fun Facts from the trip.
- Alligators are the largest reptile in the United States, with the largest population in the world living right here in Louisiana.
- Alligators can have a lifespan up to 80 years, reaching maturity at between 8-12 years of age for males (growing to 11 feet in length, on average) and 10-15 years of age for females (growing to be 8 feet in length, on average).
- Believe it or not, alligators are not exactly picky eaters. Their diets typically consist of insects, amphibians, fish, mammals such as nutria rats, muskrats, deer, birds and even other reptiles such as turtles and snakes.
- Although they have extremely powerful jaws when chomping down or closing their mouths, the muscles that open the jaw are relatively weak, weak enough that a person could keep the jaw closed simply by holding with his or her hands.
- When an alligator attacks an animal that is too large to eat in one bite, it will either wrap around its prey and convulse and spin until bones break and it’s ripped apart into bite size pieces; or they will pull the animal down under water keeping it there until it rots so that the meat softens up and can easily be broken apart.