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The Alligator Mating Season: Spring

Home Swamp Wildlife Lagniappe The Alligator Mating Season: Spring

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We may be biased, but we believe that alligators are some of the most unique creatures in the animal kingdom and have a fascinating life cycle. One of the most fascinating parts of their life cycle is the mating season, which occurs in late spring or early summer. During this time, alligators become very active and put on a show for their potential mates. Alligators tend to be active all year, but their mating rituals may be seen on our Pearl River Swamp Tours during various stages of spring. We’ll cover more about alligator mating practices in this blog post, and how certain times of the year affect their behavior.

Alligator Life Cycle: Spring

A mother alligator rests on the riverbank with her hatchlings
Spring is an exciting time for alligators in Louisiana. The mating season generally starts in April and lasts until the early summer, when males begin to travel long distances in search of females. Oftentimes, bellowing is used by both sexes in hopes of attracting a mate and warning others to stay away. For months, male (or sometimes called “bull”) alligators will battle with each other to win the attention of a female alligator or sow her. After the female alligator has been won over, the winner will then mate with her, beginning the courtship by rubbing each other’s snouts and backs, and continuing the cycle of life for these amazing creatures.

Alligator Life Cycle: Summer

Alligator mating season
After the courting process is complete, female alligators will then lay their eggs in late summer or sometimes early fall. The majority nest along ponds and interior marshes, where marsh vegetation may be piled into a mound that is several feet tall, up to 10 feet broad, and can contain up to 50 eggs. It is this decaying vegetation as well as the sun that creates heat to incubate the eggs, which is crucial for their development. The temperature of the nest has an impact on the sex of the hatchlings, with warmer temperatures favoring males and cooler temperatures favoring females.
When the eggs are laid, the female will protect them until they hatch, typically in 65-70 days. Once hatched, the young alligators live in the water for roughly six months under the supervision of the protective female alligator. However, a past study done by LSU Graduate students found that only 33% of nests receive protection from predators. The young alligators will then stay with their mother until they’re about a year old and ready to fend for themselves. Occasionally, the young may stay near the nest site for a couple of years, as many other animals – particularly egrets, herons, and even some fish – threaten these hatchlings early on.

Pearl River Swamp Tours

Alligators are fascinating creatures, and the mating season is an interesting time in their lives. We offer various tours throughout the year, allowing our guests a chance to see alligators in different phases of their life cycle. Book your Pearl River Swamp Tour today!

Pearl River Swamp Tours
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