For other uses of the name "Alligator" in Harry Turtledove's fiction, see Alligator.


The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), sometimes referred to colloquially as a gator or common alligator, is a large crocodilian reptile and apex predator endemic to the southeastern United States. It is one of two living species in the genus Alligator within the family Alligatoridae; it is larger than the other extant alligator species, the Chinese alligator A. sinensis. Adult male American alligators measure 11.2 to 15.1 ft (3.4 to 4.6 m) in length, and can weigh up to 999 lb (453 kg). Females are smaller, measuring 8.5 to 9.8 ft (2.6 to 3 m) in length. The American alligator inhabits freshwater wetlands, such as marshes and cypress swamps from Texas to North Carolina. The species is the official state reptile of Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

The English word alligator appears to be a corruption of the Spanish phrase el lagarto (the lizard).

American Alligator in Atlantis[]

One species of crocodile was native to the southern part of Atlantis. The Spanish settlers called this animal lagarto or lizard.[1] "Smiling like a crocodile" was an Atlantean saying analogous to "smiling like a wolf" in other countries.[2]


  1. Opening Atlantis, at several points throughout.
  2. The United States of Atlantis, ch. XII.