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Care Sheet

American Alligator, Alligator mississipiensis


v  Hatchling, 6-9”

v  Average Female Adult, 6-7’

v  Average Male Adult, 7-9’

v  Large Male Adult, 13’

v  Record Size, 19’-2” trapped in Louisiana in the early 1900’s

Diet Hatchlings to Babies:

v  Floating Turtle Food

v  Feeder Fish (Goldfish, Minnows, Etc., …)

v  Crickets and Other insects

v  Pink Mice (pinkies)

v  Small Frogs

Diets Juvenile to Adult:

v  Fish

v  Floating Dog Food

v  Floating Catfish Food

v  Turtles

v  Snakes

v  Small Mammals

v  Birds

v  Smaller Alligators

v  Mussels

v  Large Snails


v  Feed Hatchlings 1 to 7 times a week, depending on desired growth rate.

v  Feed Juveniles to Adults 1 to 2 times a week.

Housing Hatchlings to Babies:

v  A Hatchling or Baby will do fine in a Standard 20 Gallon Fish Tank or something similar in size. Baby Alligators are shy and secretive and do not require anything larger.

v  1-1 ˝” of clean water is sufficient so that they can touch the bottom and still be able to breath. Shallow water is necessary if you expect your baby to be able to come in contact with and catch live prey such as feeder fish.

v  Provide an object or area so that your baby can climb completely out of the water. This “basking-area” should have some type of lamp to heat the area between 84-88 degrees. Observe and see if they spend all their time under the lamp or if they never do. This will be an indicator if it is too hot or cold and adjust the lamp accordingly. They should spend at least a portion of every day basking.

v  Provide and underwater fish tank heater to keep the water at least 82 degrees. This is important as if it is too cool they will not eat at all. 82 degrees is a good temperature if you desire slower growth and less feeding. If faster growth and more feeding is desired gradually raise the temperature until desired results are achieved. Be careful not make it too hot or you can kill your baby. To be safe, keep it below 90 degrees.

v  A substrate is not required. If a substrate is desired use something that is too big to ingest such as commercial grade river rock which can be obtained at landscape supply stores or hardware stores.

v  Provide at least one of the following for proper bone growth:

Ř  A Full-Spectrum Light

Ř  Natural Sunlight

Ř  Vitamin Supplements with Calcium, Vitamin D3, and Vitamin A

These are the minimum requirements that you would need for keeping a hatchling or baby alligator. You could improvise all you want but keep these basic necessities in mind.

Some other advice:

More heat equals faster growth and more feeding.

Less heat equals slower growth and less feeding.

You will eventually end up with at least a 6’ alligator no matter what you do, however you can slow this process down by several years by keeping the water at 82 degrees and feeding only sparingly. A good indicator if you are underfeeding your animal is that their hip bones will become noticeable.

In the first year of captivity we can keep our babies under 16” and the second year under 24”. In the wild under optimum conditions babies can get up to 3 feet long in their first year.

Always remember that American Alligators are wild animals and treat them as such. Always use extreme caution and never put yourself at risk when working with wild animals.

We have been caring for and selling Baby Alligators since 1992 and are providing this care sheet as a service to our customers.

Myakka City, FL 34251 USAi941 322

© 1992-Present David Barkasy