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The Villages
Thursday, April 25, 2024

Share your lovable alligator photos as courtship season nears

Alligator courtship season is right around the corner, and you are invited to share your most lovable alligator photos in celebration of this romantic time of year.

Share your photos at news@villages-news.com Always be sure to stay at a safe distance!

Courtship begins in April and actual mating occurs in May or June.

Alligator With A Smile In The Village Of Deluna
An alligator with a smile in the Village of DeLuna.

Nearly all alligators become sexually mature by the time they reach approximately 7 feet in length, although females can reach maturity at 6 feet. A female may require 10-15 years and a male 8-12 years to reach these lengths, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.   

To attract females, males head-slap the water and produce a deep rumbling bellow. Once a male-female pair is formed, they will swim together, touch each other’s snouts and blow bubbles. Mating takes place in the water and when completed, the male disperses and the female is left to search for a place to build her nest.

Alligator headed for pond in The Villages
Alligators head for a pond in The Villages.

Females build a mound nest of soil, vegetation or debris and deposit an average of 32 to 46 eggs in late June or early July. Incubation requires approximately 63-68 days, and hatching occurs from mid-August through early September.

Alligator In Pond Near Meggison Road In The Villages
An alligator in a pond near Meggison Road in The Villages.

After completing the nest, the female will deposit all of her eggs (ranging between 20 and 50) at once and cover them up with more vegetation for incubation. She may move vegetation around to keep the eggs at a fairly constant temperature. Females stay near the nest during incubation and actively defend it from predators like raccoons. Females may also be aggressive toward humans, often hissing and charging at intruders, so alligator nests should never be approached.

  

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