A Day in the Life of a Gator
Eat. Sleep. Spend time with family and friends. Bask in the sun. When you think about it, a day in the life of an alligator sure sounds like a perfect day for visitors and locals alike here in Kissimmee, Florida! Once you read a little further, however, you’ll see that there are quite a few differences between these fascinating reptiles and us.
Rise & Shine!
7 a.m.: No alarm clocks needed for our alligator friends in Florida. After keeping warm in the water throughout the night, they get up and greet the day when the sun comes out and things start to heat up outside. For the rest of the morning, the gators like to bask outdoors, work on their tans, and go in and out of the water to chill out and enjoy a refreshing dip in the Sunshine State.
Photo: @elel231 on Instagram
What's for Lunch?
12 p.m.: After a relaxing morning, our gators are getting ready for their first bites. You might think that they’d want to eat earlier in the day, especially after being in the water all night. Not one bit! As cold-blooded creatures, alligators are able to control their body temperature by absorbing heat from their previous environment. This means that their energy needs are greatly reduced. As a result, they can survive on small amounts of food for an extended period of time.
12:45 p.m.: When you’re an alligator, lunch is never boring. Young alligators eat fish, insects, snails, crustaceans, and worms as their prey. Mature alligators eat animals such as fish, turtles, muskrats, birds, deer, and other reptiles and mammals. What a variety!
If you want to get up close (but not too personal) with some gators as they chow down, be sure to check out Wild Florida Airboats and Gator Park. They have two alligator feeding times each day.
Photo: @andrew_wildtransport on Instagram
Afternoon Hang, or a Solo Swim?
2 p.m.: To visit friends or not to visit friends? That is the question. You might consider them a bit aloof, but large male and female alligators prefer to be on their own. They tend to have a low tolerance for others (outside of reproduction), and will defend their territory if they feel others are too close. Smaller gators are usually found in groups and have a higher tolerance for other alligators who are around the same size. Time for some water cooler gossip: One of the best places to see small alligators, large male and female gators, and even albino alligators is Gatorland. With over 2,000 alligators on this 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve, no wonder it’s known as The Alligator Capital of the World®!
Photo: @dustinleemartin on Instagram
4 p.m.: After another quick dip, it’s time to check on the kids. The moms in the group go visit their baby eggs at nearby nests. During the summer, female gators build these nests out of the plants in the area to keep the eggs warm. Fun fact: Did you know that the sex of a baby gator is determined by the temperature of the nest? Incubation temperatures of 86 °F or lower produce females; those of 93 °F or higher produce males. We wonder who will come out?!
Good Day and Good Night
8 p.m.: The end of the day is here. As the sun sets and the land starts to get cooler, the alligators slowly start to “sprawl” (rubbing their bellies over the land) and then “high walk” (slither over the wet plants) into the water. Even though alligators stay active for a while, we’re turning in a bit early. What another great day in the Florida sun.
Photo: @loris_lens on Instagram
Meet Kissimmee's Alligators IRL
From alligator educational exhibits, to live feedings, to an airboat tour through the headwaters of the Everglades, there are a lot of ways you can learn more about Central Florida's raddest reptile. Did you snap a photo of a gator on your Kissimmee vacation? We'd love to see it. Tag us on Instagram (@ExperienceKissimmee) or share your photo with #MyKissimmee. Looking to take a walk on the wild side on your next vacation? Go Kissimmee.