American Alligator Ecology and Monitoring for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan
EDIS Cover Volume 2005 Number 15 teacher image



How to Cite

Rice, Ken G., and Frank J. Mazzotti. 2005. “American Alligator Ecology and Monitoring for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan: CIR 1478/UW232, 11/2005”. EDIS 2005 (15). Gainesville, FL.


The American alligator once occupied all wetland habitats in south Florida, from sinkholes and ponds in pinelands to freshwater sloughs to mangrove estuaries. Nearly all aquatic life in the Everglades is affected by alligators (Beard, 1938). As a top predator in their ecosystem, they undergo an extraordinary change in body size and consume different prey items as they grow. As ecosystem engineers, the trails and holes that alligators build provide refuge for wading birds and fish during the dry season, and their nests provide elevated areas for nests of other reptiles and germination of plants less tolerant of flooding. This document is Cir 1478, one of a series of the Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department, University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service,
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Publication date: November, 2005.


Beard, D.B., 1938, Everglades National Park Project: Wildlife Reconnaissance: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Washington, D.C.

Craighead, F.C., Sr., 1968, The role of the alligator in shaping plant communities and maintaining wildlife in the Southern Everglades: Florida Naturalist, 41:2-7, p. 69-74.

Craighead, F.C., Sr., 1971, The trees of south Florida: The natural environments and their succession: Miami, Florida, University of Miami Press.

Kushlan, J.A., 1972, An ecological study of an alligator pond in the Big Cypress Swamp of southern Florida: MS Thesis, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida.

Mazzotti, F.J., and Brandt, L.A., 1994, Ecology of the American alligator in a seasonally fluctuating environment; in S. Davis and J. Ogden, (eds.), Everglades: The Ecosystem and its Restoration: Delray Beach, Florida, St. Lucie Press, p. 485-505.