The American alligator is the largest reptile found in North America. A member of the crocodile family they can get up to 18 feet long and weigh over 600 lbs. They live in rivers, creeks, lakes, swamps, ponds or most any other fresh water wetlands. In the U.S. they are found in the south eastern portions of the country, mainly Florida, Louisiana, and Texas where I took these pics.
Alligators have survived on the planet for over 150 million years. When their dinosaur cousins died out about 65 million years ago, the alligator managed to survive. However in the 1960s their population was so low that they were added to the endangered species list in 1967. Much of the decimation of their population came from people hunting them for their skins. Twenty years after they were listed, the American alligator was removed from the endangered species list and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pronounced a complete recovery. Today it is estimated that there are well over a million alligators in the south eastern United States.