Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Tag Archive for ‘alligator’

More on the uniqueness of humans when it comes to heart disease…

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, heart-themed items seem to be everywhere. It is no surprise that I started thinking more and more about how humans are unique from other animals when it comes to heart disease. In my last entry, we talked about a few genetic variants that protect some humans from heart disease as well as the observation that many carnivores do not develop atherosclerosis, even when […]

Continue Reading →

Hatchling vs the egg – which is a better predictor of growth?

American alligators can grow rather large. In fact, according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Spanish explorers called these animals “big lizard”, or “el legarto” in Spanish, which explains how they got their name. Hatchlings are typically 8-9 inches long and their growth rate can vary depending on habitat, age, and sex. Female adult alligators can reach about 9 feet in length and 200 pounds in weight whereas […]

Continue Reading →

Alligator snorkeling

I read an interesting article in Live Science about a unique way a group of American alligators use to survive periods of freezing water, for a few days at least. As the temperature drops, the animals stick their nose out of the water and are thus able to breathe through the ice. During cold months the alligators also reduce their metabolism, a process called brumation, which is different from hibernation […]

Continue Reading →

How to grow a bigger heart…

…in alligators at least. Researchers from the University of Manchester, University of North Texas – Denton, and the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge – Grand Chenier, Louisiana teamed up to explore the effects of exposure to low oxygen on embryonic American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis). Alligator eggs are often laid in nests where oxygen concentrations can reportedly vary between 11-20% (21% is normal atmospheric levels). This is really important as issues related to embryonic development could continue to affect animals throughout their adult lives […]

Continue Reading →

I never knew otters were THAT tough…

A river otter was captured on camera taking on an juvenile alligator…and winning. The battle took place at the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge in Florida in 2011. More images can be seen on their Facebook page where the images were recently posted, impressive! According to National Geographic, the normal diet of a river otter consists of birds, small rodents, frogs, turtles, crabs, and fish. Let’s just add juvenile alligators to the […]

Continue Reading →