- Every Tuesday, Mongabay brings you a new episode of Candid Animal Cam, our show featuring animals caught on camera traps around the world and hosted by Romi Castagnino, our writer and conservation scientist.
Camera traps bring you closer to the secretive natural world and are an important conservation tool to study wildlife. This week we’re meeting an alligator native to the Southeastern United States: The American alligator.
The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is a large crocodilian reptile that inhabits freshwater wetlands, such as marshes and cypress swamps from Texas to southeastern and coastal North Carolina. These alligators are among the first reptiles recorded to use tools. They have been documented balancing small sticks and branches on their heads to attract birds looking for nesting materials. This behavior is shared with the mugger crocodile from India. American alligators are a keystone species because they modify wetland habitats. They create holes which provide both wet and dry habitats for other organisms. Watch the video to learn more about this species!
Special thanks to wildlife conservationist Sean M. McHugh for sharing his footage with us. The videos were taken in Ron Bergeron’s private land on the Florida Everglades where he conducts restoration work to support the Florida wildlife corridor.
Banner image: American alligator courtesy of Sean M. McHugh.
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