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Every effort is being made to show photographs of specimens that originated in Duval County.  As information is put online for each species, locale of photographed animals will be identified by county.  All photo credits are given on the page for each species.  If you have any photos that can be used on this site, PLEASE email me (webmaster) with anything that can be used.

American Alligator

Alligator mississippiensis

The American alligator is a very impressive animal, especially if seen up close in the wild.   Once protected due to near extinction, these reptiles have made a remarkable comeback.  So remarkable that alligator farming is a thriving trade and regulated hunting seasons exist.  These large (averaging around 13 ft. and reaching 18 ft. and weighing almost 500 pounds) reptiles thrive in swamps and river systems of the south. 

 

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Alligators will eat almost ANYTHING!  Common food items include racoons, muskrats, birds, turtles and snakes.  Young also feed upon insects, shrimp, tadpoles and frogs.  Adults feeding on large mammals can be a traumatic sight for the faint-hearted.  They cannot chew so they bite and either roll quickly to tear off limbs, or thrash the head back and forth to let the force of the movement to tears off parts.  Alligators, due to their size and respect that they command in the wild, are very popular exhibit animals.  Close to us in northeast Florida, the world famous St. Augustine Alligator Farm in (guess where?) St. Augustine, Florida, boasts being the only place in the world where you can see EVERY species of alligator and crocodile known to man.
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