American alligators are found in only 10 states in the southeastern U.S. In most situations alligators do not harm people, but they can pose potential dangers to people in some situations. In this 3-page fact sheet, we present some facts about alligators, describe their potential threats to people and pets, and provide suggestions on how to cope with these risks. Written by Holly K. Ober, Harry J. Dutton, Allan R. Woodward, Lindsay J. Hord, and William M. Giuliano, and published by the UF Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, November 2014.
The American alligator is a powerful indicator for Everglades restoration. It responds clearly to environmental change and is easy and inexpensive to monitor. As top predators and ecological “engineers,” alligators affect nearly all aquatic life in the ecosystem. Thus, trends in alligator populations can tell us whether restoration projects are successful. Alligators may be monitored for both short-term responses (body condition) and longer-term responses to ecosystem change (abundance). This 3-page fact sheet discusses trends in alligator abundance. It was written by Rebecca G. Harvey, Jeff Beauchamp, Robin Bijlani, Frank J. Mazzotti, and Laura A. Brandt, and published by the UF Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, July 2014.
Florida has two native species of crocodilians, the American alligator and the American crocodile. These federally protected species are easily confused with nonnative crocodilians found in south Florida, such as the spectacled caiman and the Nile crocodile. Some key features used to distinguish these animals are the shape of the head, the shape of the snout, and the pattern of nuchal scutes (bony plates in between head and shoulders). It is important to report all nonnative crocodilians so that researchers may quickly remove them in order to protect Florida’s native ecosystems. This 2-page fact sheet was written by Michiko A. Squires, Seth C. Farris, Brian M. Jeffery, and Frank J. Mazzotti, and published by the UF Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, September 2013.
Scientists working on Everglades restoration cannot monitor everything in the ecosystem to determine the effectiveness of their efforts, so they use “ecological indicators” such as the American alligator. Learn how this works in this 3-page fact sheet written by Rebecca G. Harvey, Frank J. Mazzotti, and Laura A. Brandt, and published by the UF Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, October 2011.