Species of the Month

American Alligator
Alligator mississippiensis

Description Large reptile with thick limbs, broad head, and powerful tail that accounts for half of their length. Adults are dark gray to nearly black above and dull white or pale yellow below. Hatchlings and juveniles are black above with six to nine yellow crossbands down the middle of back and yellow vertical bards on the sides of their body and tail.
Size Adult females usually <9, males usually <14, hatchlings usually 8.1-10.4
Habitat Usually found in permanent wetlands and slow-moving rivers, but may also occur in swamps, ditches, temporarily flooded depressions, marshes, and lakes.
Diet Young alligators feed on aquatic insects, crawfish, small fish, and frogs. Adults feed on fish, frogs, turtles, waterfowl, wading birds, and small mammals.
Distribution and Status Alligators occur statewide and their population in Louisiana is estimated at >1.5 million. The species was listed under the ESA as endangered in 1967 due to overhunting, but their numbers recovered in many areas and the American alligator was removed from the list of endangered species in 1987.
Fun facts Alligators have between 74 and 80 teeth at any given time and can replace >2,000 teeth in their lifetimes. Alligators can use tools (e.g., sticks, branches) to lure in their prey. Alligators are quite vocal and have different calls to defend their territories, signal distress, and find mates.

Species Information


Pass-a-Loutre Wildlife Management Area turns 100!

Louisiana's oldest Wildlife Management Area, Pass-a-Loutre, turns 100 years old in November 2021. The 115,000 acre WMA is located 80 miles southeast of New Orleans at the mouth of the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish. The second largest WMA in Louisiana, Pass-a-Loutre is composed of intermediate and freshwater marshes, bayous, tidal mudflats, natural passes, and man-made travel channels. It's accessible only by air or water and is home to a variety of resident and migratory birds, fresh and saltwater fish, small and large game, among many others. Pass-a-Loutre truly represents the spirit of Louisiana as Sportsman's Paradise and helps support an incredible diversity of flora and fauna that makes living in this region of the U.S. a rich and exciting experience. Help us celebrate Pass-a-Loutre WMA by learning more:

Do you have a story about Pass-a-Loutre to share?

Storytelling is a great way to educate the public about natural resources and to gain support for conservation. If you have a story about Pass-a-Loutre that you are willing to share, please take a few minutes to write about your experience, record a brief voice memo with your phone or on your computer, ask someone to interview you, or dig out your photos, and we will post your stories here.
Don’t know where to start? Here are some questions you can use for inspiration:

  • What was the purpose of your trip? Who did you go with?
  • What was your first impression? What did you see, smell, hear?
  • What was the most fun/surprising/funniest/challenging/worst thing that happened while you were there?
  • Does a particular memory or moment stand out to you?
  • What do you wish for the future of this location?

Please feel free to contact amlong@agcenter.lsu.edu with any questions and happy storytelling!