American alligators are considered keystone species due to the holes they dig. Although alligators do not hibernate, they undergo periods of dormancy when the weather becomes cold. They may excavate a cave in a waterway and leave a portion of it above water during this time. In areas where water level fluctuates, alligators dig themselves into hollows in the mud, which fill with water. These tunnels are often as long as 65 feet and provide protection during extreme hot or cold weather for not only the alligators, but many other species such as fish, frogs, and turtles.
- As an alligator’s teeth are worn down, they are replaced and they can go through about 3,000 teeth in a lifetime
- An alligator’s jaw is strong enough to crack a turtle shell