How to Tell the Sex of an Alligator

By Chang Lin

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Items you will need

  • Measuring tape

  • Oil

Although several physical and behavioral characteristics are different between male and female alligators, it may be difficult to determine the sex of an alligator in its wild habitat. At an early age, you can tell a baby alligator's gender with the vent on the underside of the body simply by flipping it over. Telling the sex of a full-grown alligator can be more challenging, but can be done with the help from a few strong, daring individuals.

Observe the nurturing behavior of the alligator by finding a fresh alligator's nest or young alligators. If you see an alligator close to the nest, laying on the eggs or protecting its young offspring, it will most likely be a female since males do not raise their young.

Measure the distance of the alligator's length with a measuring tape and examine the shape of the body and snout. Adult male alligator can grow up to 15 feet long while females generally grow up to only 10 feet long. Female alligators also have narrower snouts and bodies than males.

Flip the baby alligator upside down and examine the "vent," which is located between the lower legs. Lightly press down on either side of the vent to expose the reproductive organs of the baby alligator. If the alligator is a male, a penis will emerge. If the alligator is female, there will be no penis but a small dot that is the clitoris.

Roll an adult alligator on its back and have two or three people hold it down, depending on how large the alligator is. Place a few drops of oil on the "vent" area between the lower legs and spread the vent using your forceps. If a penis emerges from the vent, the alligator is male. If a clitoris pops out of the vent, the alligator is a female.

Warnings

  • When holding baby alligators, hold the head away from your fingers to prevent any accidents.

Photo Credits

  • Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images

Author

Chang Lin has been writing professionally since 2010. He has written scripts for the National Science Foundation and short films that have won awards at film festivals. Lin holds a Bachelor of Arts in scriptwriting from the University of North Texas.