How do alligators adapt to their environments?


Quick Answer

The alligator adapts to its environment by relying on its camouflaged hide, the position of its eyes and nostrils, the ability of its ears to close and its specialized organs. Both the alligator's lungs and heart are adapted to long periods of time spent submerged in the water.

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Full Answer

One of the alligator's adaptations for its environment lies in the specialized lungs and heart that enable it to stay safely submerged in the water. The lungs are guarded by a structure that prevents water from getting into them even while the mouth is open. The heart is able to separate oxygenated and deoxygenated blood and send the oxygen-rich blood to the brain so that the alligator can stay underwater for long periods of time.

The alligator's eyes, nose and ears are also adapted to its watery environment. Both its nostrils and eyes are located on top of its head so that it can stay almost completely submerged and still breathe through the nostrils. When the eyes are submerged, a membrane protects them and enables the alligator to see.

Another adaptation is the alligator's hide. The gray coloration and the knobs and bumps on its body allows it to blend in with its surroundings, often giving the alligator the appearance of a log and allowing it to sneak up on prey.

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