Threats to American Alligators

Once hunted for their hides, alligators today are threatened mainly by habitat loss and encounters with people. They are hunted for their skin (for leather goods) and for their meat. Before hunting was controlled in 1970, an estimated 10 million alligators were killed for their skins.

As sea level rises due to climate change, a significant portion of alligators’ freshwater and brackish marsh habitat may face an incursion or inundation of saltwater. Like many reptiles, the sex of baby alligators is determined by the temperature at which the eggs incubate; higher temperatures due to climate change will produce a higher ratio of males, altering the male-female sex ratios.