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Swamp Men: Most Wanted Facts

Photo: The tree canopy in Billie Swamp

Photo: The tree canopy in Billie Swamp (View larger version)

Photo by: Spectrum Field Productions, LLC / Guy Nickerson

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  • An abscess is a medical term for a collection of pus in a body part that causes swelling and inflammation around it.

  • Reptiles do not have the enzymes needed to break down abscesses from an infection, so the mass must be surgically removed with sterile instruments.

  • Although an accurate lifespan of an alligator in the wild is hard to calculate, there are records of alligators living up to the age of 100 years in captivity.

  • Alligators are important to the ecosystem of the Everglades because of the alligator holes they wallow in that holds water during dry periods. Alligators wallow deep enough so that water will stand in the “gator hole,” which provides critical habitat for fish and other wildlife.

  • Alligators can inflict injury with their head, tails, and other body parts besides their jaws. An alligator’s skin is made up of armor-like bony plates called scutes, which make the it very hard to penetrate.

  • Species of crocodilian reptiles, including alligators, will carry their babies in their mouths to protect them from predators or other causes of harm.

  • Enclosures for alligators need to be sturdy and secure, as large alligators are strong animals that are capable of destroying weak fixtures and partitions.

  • Crocodilians, being semi-aquatic creatures, spend most of their time in the water. They also require land and sunny areas to dry off and bask and to warm their bodies, so enclosures for captive alligators must include both aquatic and land habitats.

  • Crocodilian species perform “death rolls” to subdue and/or dismember larger prey that they could not otherwise swallow whole.

  • Research shows that the famous “death roll” of crocodilian species is not a learned behavior; it's instinctual.
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