Chinese alligator

One of the only two living alligator species is in a grave danger

City of Albuquerque

An extraordinary and critically endangered species that occupies a tiny fraction of its historic range along the lower Yangtze River in China. This elusive reptile is primarily found in wetlands, swamps, and slow-moving rivers, where it relies on abundant aquatic resources for its survival.

Unlike its more well-known cousin, the American alligator, Chinese alligators are much smaller in size and have a more secretive nature. They are expertly adapted to their aquatic environment, spending much of their time submerged in water or seeking refuge in subterranean burrows along the riverbanks. Their nocturnal habits enable them to avoid the day’s heat and hunt under the cover of darkness.

Tragically, the Chinese alligator is on the brink of extinction, with only an estimated 100 individuals remaining in the wild. This dire situation is primarily due to the relentless pressures of habitat degradation, fragmentation, pollution, and historical overhunting. As human activities continue to encroach upon their remaining habitats, the Chinese alligator population has experienced dramatic declines, accompanied by a significant reduction in its once extensive geographic range.

Despite its importance, the Chinese alligator faces several threats, including habitat loss, hunting, and pollution. The Chinese government has taken steps to protect the species, including establishing nature reserves and implementing conservation programs. However, the Chinese alligator remains critically endangered, and its population continues to decline.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
China
2017
Anhui
China
2017
Presence Uncertain: Jiangsu, Zhejiang

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No