An alligator is a crocodilian in the genus Alligator of the family Alligatoridae. The two living species are the American alligator (A. mississippiensis) and the Chinese alligator (A. sinensis). Additionally, several extinct species of alligator are known from fossil remains. Alligators first appeared during the Oligocene epoch about 37 million years ago.
- ALLIGATOR, n. The crocodile of America, superior in every detail to the crocodile of the effete monarchies of the Old World. Herodotus says the Indus is, with one exception, the only river that produces crocodiles, but they appear to have gone West and grown up with the other rivers. From the notches on his back the alligator is called a sawrian.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
- Each predator directly exerts a negative effect upon its prey, but predators may also provide indirect benefits to their prey. In ecosystems, such benefits are effected via indirect trophic pathways that can provide a more than compensating positive influence. The ecosystem of the Big Cypress National Preserve (southwest Florida) appears to contain an unusually high number of such predators—most notably, the American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis... the predation by alligators on snakes and turtles accounts for most of the trophic benefits bestowed. The actions of alligators in modifying their physical environment contributes to the maintenance of biotic diversity. It appears that the trophic influence of this species adds further evidence to the important role it plays in the functional ecology of the cypress wetland.
- Cristina Bondavalli, Robert E. Ulanowicz in:Unexpected Effects of Predators Upon Their Prey: The Case of the American Alligator, Springer Link
- A note to our enemies. You think you know America, but you only see the tiny, inept, incompetent, cowering political tip of a very big, very capable iceberg. ... You don't know the swamp folks in Cajun country that can wrestle a full-grown alligator out of the water.
- We fired our cannon 'til the barrel melted down,
So we grabbed an alligator an' we fought another round.
We filled his head with cannon balls an' powdered his behind,
An' when they touched the powder off, the 'gator lost his mind.
- Jimmy Driftwood, "The Battle of New Orleans" (1936).
- Ida: Personally, Veda's convinced me that alligators have the right idea. They eat their young.
- Guru Pitka: Rajneesh, I'd like an alligator soup, and make it snappy. Because alligators are snappy, and at the same time, I want it prompt.
- "Optimist" is a word which here refers to a person...who thinks pleasant thoughts about nearly everything. For instance, if an optimist had his left arm chewed off by an alligator, he might say, in a pleasant and hopeful voice, "Well, this isn't too bad. I don't have my arm anymore, but at least nobody will ever ask me if I am right-handed or left-handed", but most of us would say something more along the lines of "Aaaaah! My arm! My arm!"
- Lemony Snicket, The Miserable Mill (2000).