The scientific name of the American alligator is Alligator mississippiensis, while the scientific name for the Chinese alligator is Alligator sinensis. The American alligator is part of the Crocodilia order and the Alligatoridae family, and it can be found in the Southern United States.
American alligators generally live for 35 to 50 years in the wild and can grow to substantial sizes. The average length of one of these alligators is 10 to 15 feet, and they can weigh more than 1,000 pounds. There have been reports of alligators more than 19 feet in length, but they were not scientifically documented. The word alligator is believed to have been derived from the Spanish word for lizard, which is "el lagarto."