When do Alligators come out of Water? (Alligators Behavior Explained) | 2023

Alligators are one of the most prehistoric creatures on this planet. A glance at them tells us that they have remained almost unchanged since the ancient Cretaceous Period.

Alligators are a member of the Alligatoridae family that, in turn, belongs to the larger order Crocodilian. With most of its members now extinct, the family of alligators now primarily consists of two, the American Alligator and the Chinese Alligator. 

The answer to the question, “Do Alligators come out of water” is: Yes, alligators come out of the water, despite being primarily built for water. Alligators belong to the class of Poikilothermic animals, i.e., their internal temperature varies considerably in resonance to the outside temperature.

Therefore they come out of the water when the sun shines, and it is not too cold. They use the sun’s heat to regulate their internal body temperature when the water gets considerably colder than the outside.

Later in this post, we have discussed in detail the behavior of alligators. Therefore without further delay, let’s begin.

When do Alligators come out of water?

Alligators mainly come out when the water temperature goes considerably lower than the outside temperature. Staying in colder temperatures will cause their internal body temperature to fall too.

Therefore, they come out when the sun shines or the land is warmer to bring their body temperature back to normal. Crocodilians prefer a range of temperature, which lies in the range of 30-33 degrees Celsius.

In order to maintain this, they switch between land and water whenever either of them gets colder or warmer.

During Winters

During winters, the temperature falls to a considerable extent. Therefore, whenever the sun comes up, they come out of the water to get the heat rays directly from the sun.

Basking raises their body temperature to survive in colder surroundings. When the outside gets considerably colder, especially at night, alligators prefer the water in underwater dens.

This is because, due to the anomalous behavior of water, the temperature below remains a bit higher and is therefore preferred by alligators.

During Summers

Now let’s talk about their behavior during summers. When the outside temperature becomes considerably high, alligators prefer to stay underwater. If they come to land, they select the shade and keep their mouth wide open.

Alligator with wide mouth open during summers
Alligator with wide mouth open during summers

This open-mouthed behavior is backed up by scientific reasons. Keeping the mouth open causes evaporation, which lowers the body temperature that helps them survive in a hot environment.

Alligators generally keep switching between colder and warmer regions of the surroundings to maintain a constant body temperature.

How long can an Alligator stay out of water?

Alligators are built for water. They stay in swampy areas with a quality amount of land. They can stay out of water for a duration as they seem fit pertaining to the environmental conditions.

During winters

During the colder temperatures, they spend considerable time on land, basking in the sun. They can stay up to the whole day on land, depending on the environmental conditions.

At night they stay underwater, preferably in dens, as the water is comparatively warmer, thanks to the physical properties of water. When the water becomes icy, they make a den-like structure on the bank and stay dormant until conditions are set right. 

Alligator is basking in the sun
Alligator is basking in the sun

During summers

Alligators prefer to spend most of the time underwater during the hot summer days. The water, being colder, becomes their preferred place over land. If incase they come out, they prefer the shade, of the trees around, and avoid the direct sun.

Their duration roughly lasts between 20 to 30 minutes. Swampy areas with enough trees are their preferred place as it provides a balanced ratio of land and water. 

An alligator under a shade during summer
An alligator under a shade during summer

Alligators have had certain developments that enable them to see on land to stay on land, aiding their vision. They possess good eyesight but are less precise than humans. They can easily see on land, i.e., in the air, with their more focused vision than underwater.

They have three eyelids, where the outer ones serve to protect their eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Alligator’s night vision exceeds that of day’s. This is because they have more rod cells in their eyes than cones.

Must Read- All About Alligator’s Vision

How long can an Alligator stay underwater?

As stated above, alligators are primarily built for life underwater. They can stay for prolonged hours, completely submerged or with just their nostrils above the water surface, making it almost impossible to track them. 

During winters

Alligators can either stay on land in dens or underwater during winters. If underwater, each dive usually lasts 30-40 minutes. However, if at rest, the duration can easily boost up to a couple of hours. 

During winters, alligators freeze snouts in ice to stay alive

They can even survive freezing conditions. If the water temperature gets freezing cold and even if the water surface freezes, they can stay frozen, with their nostrils outside the ice, and stay there until the ice thaws. So we see how well adapted an alligator is for life underwater. 

During summers

During the hot summer days, an alligator spends most of its day underwater. The dive duration can range anywhere from 30 minutes or last to several hours. If at rest, they can spend a considerable time of the day submerged underwater. 

For such prolonged underwater submergence, they need good eyesight. An alligator’s eyesight isn’t as precise as a human’s. They can see better in freshwater, but in murky waters, their pupils open entirely up, which reflects every ray of light onto their retina to give the best possible vision.

Though their vision isn’t well focused, they can make out the shapes of the underwater entities that enable them to locate their prey or in navigation. They have a transparent film called the nictitating membrane that prevents the entry of germs and bacteria from entering their eyes.

How long can an Alligator stay underwater without breathing?

An alligator can stay underwater for nearly 30-40 minutes if it is active, like searching for prey. However, if at rest, an alligator can easily stay submerged without breathing for a couple of hours.

This is where we conclude our article on when alligators come out of the water? (Alligators Behavior Explained). We intend to bring such informative articles in the future. So until that, stay tuned.


Image Source- cnn, pixabay, wikipedia


Also Read: