what does it mean when alligators bellow

What Does It Mean When Alligators Bellow?

Recently, an American Alligator was spotted in a lake in Arkansas and took us all by surprise. This alligator was filmed in Lake Conway. Apparently, there have been rumors of this alligator for quite some time but no one had ever gotten photos or a good video of him.

What was just as shocking as the location of this alligator was the bellowing sound it was making when it was filmed. This large alligator was bellowing with a deep, slow moan.

This made me wonder, what does it mean when alligators bellow?

If you’re wondering the same thing, you’re in the right place. The sound of an alligator bellowing is both interesting and terrifying at the same time.

What Does It Mean When Alligators Bellow?

Recently, I saw a video of an alligator bellowing and the person on the video thought the alligator was snoring. However, someone quickly corrected her and informed her that the alligator was definitely not snoring!

beware of alligator sign
Photo by Jeff Gray

Bellowing is the way male alligators attract females. It’s a mating call. It’s also the way male alligators tell other male alligators to get out of the way because they are dominant.

If you are in an area with a lot of alligators, you will likely hear the most bellowing from April through June because that is the American Alligator’s mating season in the Southeast United States.

It is important to note that alligators do bellow all year round but most of it is done during mating season.

Expect to see baby alligators in the future!

How Do Alligators Bellow?

When I saw the recent video of the Arkansas alligator bellowing, I noticed that it was partially high up out of the water.

I couldn’t figure out how he was doing it since he wasn’t near the shore. Was he pushing up on something under the water that I could not see?

So, I started doing some research.

alligator thinking about bellowing
Photo by Jeff Gray

To bellow, a male alligator will fill his lung full of air. Their lungs become like balloons and that lifts their bodies up out of the water.

Then, it happens.

They raise their heads and tails high up in the air and release a deep, slow bellow.

This starts a chain reaction. When one male alligator begins to bellow, all the other male alligators in the area start bellowing too.

Interesting Fact About Alligators’ Bellowing

If you ever see an alligator bellow in person or see a high quality video of the happening, you will notice something very interesting.

When an alligator bellows, the water around him will vibrate or “dance.”

It almost looks like a rain shower that is coming up out of the water instead of falling down on it.

Infrasonic waves from a bellowing male can cause the surface of the water directly over and to either side of his back to literally “sprinkle”, in what is commonly called the “water dance”.


Beware of Bellowing Alligators

Alligators do the majority of their bellowing during mating season. If you’ve ever watched a nature video about any sort of animals then you know that animals are most aggressive during mating season.

Arkansas Alligator
Arkansas Alligator. Photo by Vickie Gray

Alligators are no exception. So, if you hear an alligator bellowing between April and June, keep in mind that the male alligator is looking for a mate and you better stay out of his way!

Alligators will stop at nothing to find a mate!

Don’t miss this: Can Alligators Climb Fences?

Other Alligator Facts

Alligators are fast on land and in water. They can swim faster than Michael Phelps and run faster than Usain Bolt.

Alligators will eat your dog if given the chance. You have been warned.

Alligators can stay underwater for a long time. A shockingly long time.

Alligators are not dinosaurs. Even though they look prehistoric.

Alligators are one of several dangerous animals in Arkansas.

Related articles