- Scientific name:
- Other common names:
China alligator, Yangtze alligator
- Body length:
- Body weight:
70 years (in captivity; 50 years in wild)
- Natural habitat:
Prefers slow-moving freshwater bodies, including rivers, streams, ponds and swamps.
Endemic to the Yangtze River in China
(Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Auhui Provinces).
- IUCN 2008 Red List: Critically endangered
- CITES: Appendix I
The Chinese Alligator, also known as the China alligator and Yangtze alligator, is historically associated with the mythical Chinese dragon. Local people call them 'earth dragons', and believe these "dragons" have a special ability to call for rain. Some farmers even use the alligator's roar as a rainfall indicator.
This carnivorous reptile has been reported to live up to 70 years old in captivity and to about 50 years old in the wild. It prefers slow-moving freshwater bodies, including rivers, streams, ponds and swamps, and is endemic to the Yangtze River in China. Due to habitat loss and illegal hunting for medicinal use, there may currently be less than 150 Chinese Alligators left in their natural habitat.
Fun facts about Chinese Alligators
- All alligators only show their upper teeth when they close their mouths. Crocodiles, on the other hand, show both their upper and lower teeth when they close their mouths.
- The sex of a baby Chinese Alligator is determined by the temperature during the first few weeks of incubation. Lower temperatures between 28 – 31.5 °C are more likely to produce female alligators, while higher temperatures around 33 °C are more likely to produce male alligators.