Alligator: Sub audible Vibrations

Alligator Social Displays – 1

On a recent visit to one of the local wildlife management areas several Alligators were bellowing all around the old rice field pond. Both males and females can bellow and will do it year round, not just in mating season. During mating season they will do it as a chorus. Needless to say, it can be a little disconcerting. You the human have no way to know what a particular chorus is all about and sound echoing on the water often makes it hard to know just where a particular Alligator is hiding.

I watched this Alligator work his way along the bank of the dike and unfortunately couldn’t see his whole body but was fascinated by the jumping water. The “water dance” is caused by an infrasonic signal known as “subaudible vibrations” and is only performed by males.

Alligator: Sub audible Vibrations
Alligator: Subaudible Vibrations

After this performance he was done with his socialization activities.

Alligator
Alligator

He picked a spot a little further along the bank and settled in.

Alligator in Reeds
Alligator in Reeds

Alligator social behavior is quite complex, and include at least visual, auditory, and olfactory components. I found a fascinating article by Kent A. Vliet published in the journal American Zoology and shared by the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park.

You can read the full article

http://www.alligatorfarm.us/images/Research/Social%20Displays%20of%20the%20American%20Alligator.pdf

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