Chinese alligator laying on sand.
Animals

Chinese Alligator

At A Glance

  • Conservation Status: Endangered
  • Location: Discovery Outpost
  • ZOO ZONE: Discovery Outpost

    In the Zoo’s Reptile Walk, you’ll find the Chinese alligator, a critically endangered species. From nose to tail, belly to back, hard scales protect this petite alligator. Even the eyelids have bony plates under the skin! Chinese alligators use their snout and strong, clawed front feet to dig burrows in the banks of streams. When the cold months come, they hunker down in their burrows—or in caves—and stay there throughout the winter. We expect to become a breeding facility for this most endangered of all crocodilian species and are awaiting a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquarium's Species Survival Program. Look for other crocodilians—African dwarf crocodiles, Johnston’s crocodiles (or Australian freshwater crocs), slender-snouted crocodiles, and gharials—in the Zoo’s Lost Forest. 

    Did you know? Chinese literature and art dating back to ancient times depicts dragons that could be based on the Chinese alligator.

    San Diego Zoo Food Wine and Brew Celebration
    SEPTEMBER 21, 2019

    SAN DIEGO'S WILDEST TASTING EVENT

    Black-footed cat
    ZOONOOZ

    A WIN FOR SPECIES CONSERVATION

    AND THE “OSCAR” GOES TO…
    Baboons
    DISCOVER THE WONDERS OF

    AFRICA ROCKS

    Ring-tailed lemur and two small children jumping in front of a blue sky.
    GO WILD!

    KIDS FREE ALL OCTOBER

    Presented by Mission Federal Credit Union
    Hotel with pool
    Creature Comforts

    PREFERRED HOTELS