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Chinese Alligator

Alligator sinensis


  • Eastern China


  • Freshwater rivers and swamps


  • Snails
  • Crustaceans
  • Insects
  • Fish

Chinese alligators are ectothermic; they rely on the outside environment to regulate their body temperatures; their adaptations are outwardly focused on staying comfortable:

  • Burrow Builders: Spending the winter in elaborate dens or caves allow Chinese alligators to go dormant when the weather is too cold.
  • Basking the Day Away: Chinese alligators spend a lot of time just laying around in the sun when they first emerge in the spring. While this might appear non-productive, they are raising their body temperature by basking.
  • Hot Baby, Cold Baby: The sex of Chinese alligators is determined by temperature during incubation. At hotter temperatures, the babies are male, and at colder temperatures the babies are female.

To learn more about Chinese alligators, visit them at the Lynn and Barbara Owens Chinese Alligator exhibit in the Lost Kingdom.

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