Chinese Alligator sticking its head out of water

Chinese Alligator

At A Glance

  • Location: Discovery Outpost
  • Conservation Status: Endangered
  • 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 at the Zoo—including African dwarf crocodiles in Africa Rocks; and 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.

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