December 7th, 2021
In our last blog post, we discussed some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about alligators. But one blog post isn’t enough to cover all the topics and questions we get daily from our customers. That’s why we’ve returned with a second installment of our alligator FAQ!
How can the age and viability of the incubating egg be determined?
After the first day of incubation, the embryo floats to the top of the egg and pushes the thin membrane inside of the egg up against the shell. This creates a white spot on the otherwise opaque shell. As the alligator grows, the white spot broadens around the egg and becomes a ¾” band after 7 days. This band widens each day and covers the whole egg after 39 days, making the whole egg bright white. If at any time between the 1st and 39th day the baby dies, the band will stop growing. If the baby dies after the 39th day, the egg will become ugly in just a few days.
What is the optimum incubation temperature and why?
Temperatures averaging 89 degrees produce an alligator that grows faster throughout its whole life. This is because the alligator food conversion rate (the ability to convert food to body weight) is improved.
Why is the hatch rate at Louisiana Ranches better than the hatch rate in the wild?
Controlled environment: temperature, no predation, no tidal hazards, no momma walking on nest, etc.
Why is the survival rate on the Louisiana Ranch better than the survival rate in the wild?
Controlled environment: better temperature, easy access to food, clean water, roof over head eliminates predation, etc.
What is the size of an alligator hatchling when it is born?
9”. Almost never 8” or 10”.
How fast do alligators grow in the wild?
Alligators grow about 1 foot per year during the first four years of their life and slower thereafter.
How fast do alligators grow in captivity?
Alligators commonly grow to 4 feet in the first year on ranches. They grow slower thereafter but will grow faster than their wild relatives throughout their whole life demonstrating their impeccable care.
Why is there such a substantial difference?
There are three main reasons.
- Eggs incubated at a controlled temperature of 89 degrees produce an alligator that converts food to body weight more efficiently.
- Ranch-raised alligators do not hibernate because they are kept warm year-round.
- Food is more readily available to a ranch-raised alligator.