The Largest Reptile in North American is Here!


The largest reptile in North America, the American alligator, can now be seen at Reid Park Zoo. Zoo guests have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of this nine-foot reptile while the habitat was under construction.

Considered to be living fossils, alligators have survived on Earth in the same form for over 200 million years. Though often confused with various crocodile species, the American alligator can be distinguished by its rounded snout, and by the fact that when the jaw is closed, none of the lower teeth are visible. The eyes and snout are positioned on the top of the head, enabling the American alligator to breathe and watch for prey, while the rest of the body is submerged.

The 25-year old male American alligator arrived late Wednesday, April 4 from the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, Texas. The Animal Care and Veterinary teams at Reid Park Zoo worked seamlessly together to ensure the alligator had a smooth transition into the habitat. Within 10 minutes he was seen exploring his new surroundings. He glided into the warm 78-degree pool, floated at the surface and then submerged himself to the bottom. As he walked along the bottom of the pool, he investigated the depth and shape. He came to the surface with his head above the water and his body and tail floating below.

“While he is adjusting to his new surroundings, we expect him to spend the majority of his time in the pool.” said Dr. Sue Tygielski, interim Zoo Administrator. “We are excited to share this species that is critical to biodiversity with our guests. It has been almost 30 years since we have had alligators at Reid Park Zoo.”

As an opening weekend Adopt-an-Alligator special, people can now become a “Parent” to their favorite Zoo animal, such as the alligator, when they purchase the Keeper’s Korner package for $40 ($20 off) at This is an easy and fun way to show support for Reid Park Zoo. The special is only running online from Thursday, April 5 through Sunday, April 8.

Zoo guests can now see the American alligator on habitat at Reid Park Zoo during normal business hours from 9:00am-4:00pm, seven days a week.