They typically live in freshwater habitats like slow-moving rivers, swamps, marshes and lakes, and can only tolerate saltwater for brief periods. They’re carnivorous and can swallow small prey (such as fish, snails and frogs) whole; they use their sharp teeth to seize larger prey and shake it apart into more digestible pieces. In the wild, alligators can live to be about 50 years old.
Though no longer considered endangered, alligators are still listed as a federally “threatened” species because of their similarities to crocodiles (who are endangered). Alligators also face threats to their natural habitat being destroyed or degraded by human development and from the highly unregulated and illegal trade in exotic skins.
Alligators are sometimes confused with crocodiles (who are far less numerous), but you can tell them apart by their teeth. Unlike crocodiles, alligators have no lower teeth visible when their mouths are closed.
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