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Save the Chinese Alligator

A Yangtze (Chinese) Alligator chasing turtles.

A Yangtze (Chinese) Alligator chasing turtles.

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About:

While it originally ranged through much of China, this species' wild habitat has been reduced to little more than a few ponds containing 100 to 200 individuals[3] along the lower Yangtze River in the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Anhui. Its population reduction has been mostly due to conversion of its habitat to agricultural use. A majority of their usual wetland habitats have been turned into rice paddies.[4][5] Poisoning of rats, which the alligators then eat, has also been blamed for their decline. In the past decade, very few wild nests have been found, and even fewer produced viable offspring.

Information:

Chinese Alligator (also called the Yangtze Alligator)

The Chinese alligator is one of two species (or kinds) of alligator.
The other is the American alligator.

An American alligator

Chinese alligators live in a just a small part of north-eastern China. It is thought that there are just 150 Chinese alligators left in the wild. It is a very endangered animal and it is protected by both Chinese and international law. The habitat where it lives is also protected.

Why has it become endangered?
It is endangered because of habitat loss. It lives where people live and eats the ducks that people keep for food, as well as destroying irrigation channels on farmland. The farmers would like them to be gone. The building of dams in the wetlands is also destroying the habitat.

What is being done to stop them from extinction?
There are several thousand alligators being kept in captivity and it may be possible to reintroduce them into the wild at some stage. However, villagers and farmers will have to be taught how to value the alligator or they will not survive.

Appearance: What do they look like?
The alligators grow to about 2 metres and can weigh up to 40 kilograms. The body is covered with scales. The end of the snout is tapered and slightly upturned. They can have up to 76 teeth.

Habitat: Where do they live?
The alligators live in freshwater rivers and streams, lakes, ponds and swamps. They build burrows and hibernate in them for up to 7 months of the year for protection from the extreme climate of northern China.

Diet: What do they eat?
The alligators hunt mainly at night, feeding on snails, mussels and fish. They also eat small mammals such as rats.

Reproduction: How do they breed?


baby Chinese alligator at a breeding farm

After mating in the summer, the female builds a mounded nest of rotting plants and lays between 10 and 50 eggs.
After about 70 days the eggs hatch.

If you use any part of this in your own work, acknowledge this source in your bibliography like this:
Thomas, R. & Sydenham, S. Chinese or Yangtze Alligator [Online] http://www.kidcyber.com.au (2001).

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