The American alligator has a large lizard-like body with four short legs and a long muscular tail. A gator's hide is rough and scaled. Alligators and crocodiles are similar in appearance, but exhibit a number of differences. Alligators are dark-colored with a broad, rounded snout and are usually found in fresh water.
Watch the Florida native, the American alligator sunbathe in the coastal habitat in Morocco.
Unlike their turtle cousins, tortoises are exclusively terrestrial (land-dwelling) reptiles. There are about 300 species of living tortoises today and they can be found all over the world except Antarctica. Tortoises have long life spans; in fact some have been recorded to have lived longer than 150 years! Unfortunately, most tortoises are at risk of becoming endangered or are already considered critically endangered.
Learn more about tortoises when you visit them in Nairobi.
These modern age dinosaurs can reach sizes of 6 to 20 feet and can weigh up to 1,650 pounds! Here at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, you are able to see Nile and Slender-Snouted crocodiles up close. Both species can be found throughout Sub-Saharan Africa in rivers, dense jungles, lakes, and even along coastlines. Did you know that the best way to tell alligators and crocodiles apart are their snouts? Crocodiles have a pointy snout, whereas alligators have a wide, rounded snout!
Visit Edge of Africa® to learn more about crocodiles.
Unlike most lizards, Komodo Dragons are notorious for being carnivores. They eat wild pigs, deer, wild buffalo, snakes, and fish that wash up on shore. A Komodo dragon can eat 80 percent of its body weight in a single feeding. They are found throughout the grasslands and forests near beaches in Indonesia. With long, flat heads, rounded snouts, scaly skin, bowed legs, and huge, muscular tails, it’s no wonder they are the heaviest lizards on Earth. Komodo Dragons are at risk of being endangered.
See a komodo dragon up-close in Bird Gardens.
From vipers to pythons to rattlesnakes, you can see a variety of snakes here at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay! Snakes are native to most parts of the world, except Antarctica, Iceland, Ireland, Greenland and New Zealand. Most snakes consume a variety of rodents, birds, frogs, small mammals and other reptiles. There are more than 3,000 known species of snakes in the world and about 25 percent (or about 600 species) are known to be venomous.
Come face-to-fang with snakes in Animal Connections and before you take on the Snake King at Cobra’s Curse®!
Ask an Educator about AlligatorsExpand All
How long do alligators live?
Alligators live an average of 30 to 35 years in the wild and up to 50 years or more in managed care.
What do alligators eat?
Alligators feed on fishes, turtles, mammals, snakes, birds, and even other alligators (under certain conditions) and will also eat carrion.
How big do alligators get?
Most female alligators rarely exceed 10 feet in length but males can grow much larger. The largest male American alligator on record measured 15 feet and 9 inches long and weighed over 1000 pounds.