Some people think alligators look like giant lizards while others think they look more like dinosaurs. No matter which side of the fence you are on, there is a lot of mystery around these animals and one common question is, ” How long do alligators live?”
Personally, I always thought that an alligator’s lifespan was about the same as a dog’s. Why? I have no idea.
Apparently, I gauge everything in dog years.
I decided to do some research to find out the truth. It turns out that I was very wrong.
How Long Do Alligators Live?
Believe it or not, alligators typically live 30-50 years. Keep in mind that this is just the average lifespan of alligators.
There is actually an alligator that has lived much longer than that.
Longest Living Alligator Will Blow Your Mind
If you thought a 50 year old alligator was old, just wait until you hear about Muja.
Muja is the oldest known living alligator in the world. He was born (hatched) sometime before 1937. That makes him over 85 years old.
Muja is an American alligator that lives at the Belgrade Zoo in Serbia.
What’s remarkable is that this alligator has lived through World War II. During that time, the zoo was bombed twice. Many animals died but Muja survived.
Muja underwent surgery in 2012, as gangrene infected his limbs and led to some of his leg being amputated. Muja’s days are as leisurely as it gets, spending most of his time in the pond before retiring to his cave chamber in winter. He is fed by handlers, as much to avoid overeating as anything else. source
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How many alligators live to maturity?
Now we know that alligators can live for 30-50 years or even more in some cases but what is the likelihood that an alligator will even live to see that age.
As we know, living in the wild is about survival of the fittest. Animals get eaten by other animals all the time and it’s no different for alligators.
In fact, about 1/3 of alligator nests are destroyed. Predators eat the eggs or flooding wipes them out. Surprisingly, the main predator of alligator nests are raccoons!
The average clutch size of an alligator nest is 38. For nests that survive predators and flooding, an estimated 24 live hatchlings will emerge. Only 10 alligator hatchlings will live to one year. Of these yearlings, 8 will become subadults (reach 4 feet in length). The number of subadults that reach maturity (6 feet in length) is approximately 5. These estimates are for a growing alligator population. As a population matures (and has a higher percentage of large alligators), the survival rate would be expected to be lower, in part due to a higher rate of cannibalism. source
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