Frequently Asked Questions About Alligators Part 1

alligator swimming in water

Here at Insta-Gator Ranch & Hatchery, our main mission is to spread awareness about the American Alligator and the Louisiana Alligator Conservation Program. These amazing creatures have much to offer the world, and we’re always looking to share our knowledge with our customers.

When people visit us or our alligators travel to visit them, they understandably have many questions about how alligators live. That’s why we’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about alligators.

How does the female alligator build her nest?

A female alligator will use her teeth to rip the grass from the marsh in the immediate area around the nest, piling the grass up into a mound about 18-24 inches tall by 4-6 feet wide.

How does the nest assist the incubation process?

The rotting grass produces heat to keep the eggs warm at night. The grass also produces shade to keep the eggs cool during the day. As a result, the eggs are always kept at a stable temperature.

When do alligators lay their eggs?

Alligators lay their eggs over a three-week period, typically starting around June 10 and ending around the first few days of July.

How many eggs are laid in a typical alligator nest? Why do you think momma alligator lays so many or so few?

The female alligator lays an average of 30-40 eggs in her nest. They lay so many eggs likely because 9 out of 10 eggs or baby alligators are eaten by other animals before they have a chance to grow big enough to protect themselves.

Of all the eggs laid in the marsh, how many alligators will survive to a size where they can protect themselves from being eaten by other animals?

Studies have shown that alligators begin to successfully protect themselves when they’re about 4 feet. Only 6-8% of eggs laid in the wild will survive long enough to grow this large.

How is sex determined during the incubation process?

Incubation temperature controls sex. Temperatures averaging 92 degrees Fahrenheit will produce nearly 100% males, while temperatures average 86 degrees Fahrenheit will produce nearly 100% females. Some ranchers will control temperatures to get their desired sex, but here at Insta-Gator Ranch, we let Mother Nature and the alligators decide.

When is sex determined?

Sex is determined by incubation temperature between the 10th and 24th day of incubation.

How long is the incubation process and when do the eggs hatch?

After 63 days of incubation.  The eggs typically hatch between August 10 and September 6 of each year.

Keep an eye out for future frequently asked alligator questions! If you’d like to visit our ranch, contact us today to schedule a tour!