The Chinese Alligator, Alligator sinensis, is one of two living species of Alligator. The Chinese Alligator is native to only China. This species’ wild habitat has been reduced to little more than a few ponds along the lower Yangtze River system. Its population reduction has been mostly due to conversion of its habitat to agricultural use.
The Chinese Alligator rarely exceeds 7 feet long, with 5 feet being a more common size. It weighs approximately 80 pounds. Their heads are proportionally larger in size compared to its body size. Their scales are very granular and a pattern of faint, light bands accentuate against their dark background.
While this animal is listed as critically endangered, with less than
200 alligators in the wild, their captive population totals at over 10,000. Most of these are found in research centers and numerous zoos. Efforts are underway to reintroduce captive bred animals to suitable wild habitats. Although this species is widely regarded as quite docile, it is capable of inflicting massive damage on unwary handlers.