Q:

How do alligators breathe underwater?

A:

Quick Answer

Alligators actually don't breathe underwater. Though they can stay submerged for long periods of time, they must eventually surface to breathe through the nostrils on their long snouts.

Continue Reading
How do alligators breathe underwater?
Credit: Mark Newman Lonely Planet Images Getty Images

Full Answer

Among the many successful adaptations that have allowed alligators to remain largely unchanged over thousands of years is the ability to stay submerged for more than an hour at a time. This ability is aided by the alligator's heart, which slows down when the animal submerges, allowing the body to use oxygen more efficiently. Not breathing in water is essential to the alligator's survival. In fact, this large reptile has adapted nose flaps that clamp shut and block water from entering when the gator dives underwater.

Learn more about Alligators

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the bite pressure of an alligator?

    A:

    The bite pressure of alligators is slightly different depending on the specific species, but saltwater crocodiles have the strongest bites. Their jaws generate up to 3,700 pounds per square inch, or 16,460 newtons, of bite pressure at a time. The bite force generated by crocodiles is quite significant, and is comparable to the bite force produced by historic predators, such as the T. rex.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What do you call a baby alligator?

    A:

    Baby alligators are called hatchlings. When hatchlings reach maturity, they grow to be approximately six feet long. Mature males are known as bulls, and mature females are referred to as cows.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a group of alligators called?

    A:

    A congregation refers to a group of alligators, where the smaller alligators are compliant to the biggest, most dominant alligator. A group of newly hatched alligators, or juveniles, is referred to as a pod.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some fun facts about alligators?

    A:

    Sometimes referred to as "living fossils," alligators have existed for millions of years. Alligators are reptiles and can sometimes be confused with crocodiles, which are part of the same order, Crocodylia.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore