IAmA Crocodilian reseacher that has been working with the American Alligator and other Crocodilians for 26 years even occasionally in Chicago. I have a Non Profit that aimed at education and research with these animals EEARSS.ORG

research proof proof

Comments: 124 • Responses: 56  • Date: 

dapostrophus11 karma

What would you say has been the biggest hurdle you've had to overcome in the research? Do you often find your colleagues to be intimidated by the sharp teeth, or is the bigger issue all the problems one would expect to be caused by having a giant tail swinging around behind you in the lab everywhere you go? I'm sure the lack of opposable thumbs thing is probably what most people would expect you to say, but we've come a long way in our society in recent years toward overcoming such differences and making workplaces more accessible, so I would think that wouldn't necessarily rank so high. Maybe it's something I've never even considered. Tell us about the struggles a crocodilian such as yourself has to face as a researcher.


Lots to reply to here. The biggest hurdles in crocodilian research are cultural beliefs. Some places they are worshiped some the are killed on sight and everything in between and those might be villages right next door to one another. They.dont typically go into a lab, the samples needed are taken in the field for the reasons you mention.

spacethunderstorm10 karma

What do you call a crocodile that likes to bowl? An alley-gator!

What does an alligator do when he loses his tail? He goes to a re-tail store

What do you call an alligator in a vest? An investigator!



Lol 🙏

spacethunderstorm7 karma

What does a dehydrated alligator drink? Gatorade

Ok, im done.


Come.on! Ur on a roll LOL

spacethunderstorm10 karma

Why did the female crocodile leave her husband?

He had a reptile dysfunction.


You are my kinda people haha

spacethunderstorm9 karma

Now for a serious question.

Why dont we have alligators and crocs in Denmark, we have swamps and stuff.

Is it only due to the winter?


Yes indeed. Historically according to fossil records there were crocodilians there!

ComplicitJWalker7 karma


savedbythehellfire2 karma

how long would a crocagator live in a cold climate if released to a local lake?


Would depend. If they could find themselves into a culvert or underground area during winter. Long periods of time. I've see alligators in solid frozen water. Thaw out and swim away. There are rather incredible...think it just depends on how cold and how long it's that cold

savedbythehellfire2 karma

that is terrifying. what if they mutate and adapt!


We all win? Lol

eskimoexplosion9 karma

Have you tried reaching out to Marvel about using Alligator Loki as a mascot to raise awareness?


No...thats kinda genius right there

baking_bad8 karma

Alligator hunting in FL has been legal but heavily regulated for around 20 years now. Has there been any research about how the hunting has affected alligator populations and the ecosystem here in FL?


Yes there sure is. The size class of the animals have dropped tremendously over the years. It takes a long time to grow a large gator. Seeing as they live as long as people.

Caliterra2 karma

Is there a rough gator-length to age ratio? IE. 5-foot gator - 1 year old, 6 foot- 3 year old etc


Sadly no...all depends on size of habit, heat and availability of food.

For instance in the farm. They can get a 7ft gator in 2 and a half years. In the wild that could take 15 or more for a male and a female that size could be 70

Caliterra2 karma

neat! going along with the farm topic, with mammalian predators I've often heard that tigers/lions etc that lived in captivity would not survive in the wild (due to diminished hunting skills or abilities). Does the same apply to crocs/alligators that have spent most of their lives in captivity?


Not nearly. The problem on that side is they now associate people with food, it's kinda murder waiting to happen

Reephermaddness2 karma

That's so crazy to think a 70 year old gator. Even with a crocodillian brain it's GOT to have a few pearls of wisdom up in that noggin


They never forget

Sunburn798 karma

Mama says that alligators are ornery cuz they got all them teeth but no toothbrush.

Would you agree?


She is on point

StreetPen7 karma

Genuine question: Why should the public care about crocodiles? What role do they serve in an ecosystem?


Nice! They are keystone species in every aspect. Providing living area, food and so much more to countless other animals.

They are also apex predators and have an endocrine system/hormones that are 99.9% that same as ours. So through testing of blood, urine, tissues. We can find environmental factors that will be giving us problems. Sentinel species...truly

StreetPen6 karma

That endocrine/hormone comparison aspect is fascinating! Thanks for sharing!


Always! That's alot.of what I am currently studying through my NP with NC state Eearss.org

Waterrat2 karma

Are crocodiles and alligators ability to reproduce being altered by plastic and other pollutants?

Also,in the everglades,who is winning,the alligator or the python?


Start with ur last question first. The instances on TV are the rare times the alligator looses. Lots more snakes are eaten by gators than the other way around.

PFAs and PFOs PFOAs which we call forever chemicals...of which there are many in that class can alter hormones and decide sex of the offspring over temp.

Wrote a book on it. You can find at EEARSS.org

PprPusher6 karma

My 8year old son wants to study crocodilians when he grows up- you’re his hero! He’s got a couple questions.

  1. Is a caiman technically a crocodile or an alligator? He’s read both & would like it settled.

  2. Any interesting facts about gharials? He doesn’t know much about them & wants to know how they compare to the other crocodilians.



Wow thats awesome!! Please go to my NP website Eearss.org or instagram/facebook and drop me a message I will send him some goodies.

Caiman and alligators are in the same family (Alligatoridae) although you don't naturally find Alligator and Caiman in the same area in the wild. They are now introduced in south Florida and I've caught a few here.in central Florida.

Gharial are incredible. They are fish eating. One of the biggest obstacles to their conservation is the sand they nest in being used for building. The adults make pops and clicks underwater for communication. I hope they are still here for him to study when he is an adult.

PprPusher7 karma

Thanks for the response! It made my kid’s evening :) We’ll be checking out your sites soon!


Pleasure is all mine! Happy to help!

mlorusso45 karma

What’s your opinion of Steve Irwin? Obviously the general public loves him, but what about the professional community?


He is a big reason why many got interested in crocodilians. He brought awareness to the species and let people see they were something special

DreamxSZN5 karma

What fascinates you most about Alligators and crocs?


They never forget. And are seriously smart. They ain't doing their kids Calc homework, but what they do...there is nothing on the planet better...survive

Reephermaddness1 karma

Any other examples of extraordinary crocodile intelligence?


Seen them solve problems and even seen them use tools to.catch food

Cdn_Nick5 karma

Has DNA testing on crocs revealed anything interesting?


Their red blood cells are nucleated...their endocrine hormones are identical to ours... Mapping out the entire chain has been done...but not quite so successfully yes

AerosolHubris5 karma

When crocs do a death roll is it always in the same direction? Are their left-handed and right-handed crocs that stay true to their nature but differ from each other? And is it genetic or learned?


Depends on the side of the equator ur on


Sorry couldn't help myself. Nope they go which ever way they need. They will roll and not typically stop rolling the same direction although

AerosolHubris3 karma

Thank you! I've been wondering that for years, honestly.


I've never had the question before... very cool

TisTheWindAndNothing4 karma

Question from 5 year old: what is the biggest saltwater crocodile ever discovered?

(Big fan of suchuses)


They claim that to be lolong....20 plus feet and over 2000 pounds...Giant of a lizard!

Big fan here too!

Caliterra4 karma

Can all alligators crossbreed? Can crocs and alligators crossbreed?


Good question. There are hybrids of many species of crocodile. American and Morelet, American and Cuban and now they have recently found American Cuban Morelet hybrid. Alligators and Crocodiles can not

randomaltname1 karma

I thought the Morelet and Cuban were crocodiles?


They are. They can mate. Sorry if I was confusing with my response

justscottaustin4 karma

What's the scariest situation you've run into dealing with animals who debate your position in the food chain?


Catching them under neighborhoods...in 36inch or smaller pipes and meeting them face to face...makes you question your life choices haha

malcontented3 karma

How many people are killed per year in Costa Roca and The rest of Central America?


I have some friends that run a site called crocbite You should check it out, they try to document all incidents via governments around the world. Think that'll have the information you seak 🙏


Believe they are linked through the iucncsg website too

Blocktimus_Prime3 karma

How have Crocodilians responded to climate shifts in the fossil record and how do you think they will respond to the sudden shifts we are expecting over the next 100 years?


Heat is a big deal for them. Temp determines see in the eggs. So a warming of the earth for any reason could big a huge impact...same.as.water level.

One thing we know...is they adapt better than anything. Survive is what they.do

almostbig3 karma

Even thou I'm brazilian, I can't seem to find much info about black caimans. How does their behavior compare to american alligators? What do they feed on usually?


There isn't a ton out there about them. They are both dark. Feed on fish turtles and mammals. I understand they are very standoffish just Like the alligator.
I sadly don't have a ton of experience with the.species. here in the states. There are only a handful in zoos and they are all female. There might be 1 male out in Arizona... I wish I had more information about the species! Sorry hope that.was some help

almostbig3 karma

No worries. They are quite a rare sight anyway, I've spotted one once when I was living on western regions. This thing was gigantic, I'd assume around 13 or 14 feet. That spiked my curiosity since then.


I've heard arguments they get larger than the alligator. That's hard to imagine but there really isn't much of any work done on them

tetlich3 karma

Is it true that Crocodilians have incredibly stinky poop? What does it smell like compared to dog poop?

Also, what's the worst thing you've ever smelled while working with animals?


I don't think it's super pungent lol. I am a dog guy. And that's 100 times worse.

All about the smells lol

Hmm snake musk can be bad but the smell of a decomposing crocodilian is pretty awful.

tetlich2 karma

Oh yeah I've heard about snake musk. What does that smell like exactly? Different than poop? And it's super hard to wash off?


It's pretty brutal. Yes much different. Yeah it sticks with you lol

tetlich2 karma

How would you describe the smell though exactly?


Lol 😆

KarmaaaBoom1 karma

I think you have a fan who is into fecalphelia 😂


Was getting that sorta idea 💡

MaStEr_MeLoN152432 karma

What's the main difference that you spot to see if the animal is an alligator or crocodile?


Color, head shape...armor on their backs, over bite. They truly do look nothing alike

TigerMafiaFromUganda2 karma

Your thought on the Indian Gharial Population and endangerment ? Is there any way we can restore the population ?


Howdy there. They have so much against them. The sand they nest with being taken away. People fishing catching them in nets...pollution. It's possible through captive breeding maybe we could add some too the population but they again would be fighting the same problems. A man by the name of Jeff Lang has devoted his life to the Indian Gharial. We just had a fun raiser at the Tampa Zoo here in Florida for him. He is worth a google 🙏

bobobosco772 karma

Are there many accidents that happen to people in your field?


Yes. They are many that do the work that shouldn't be. Only takes one wrong move...to hurt urself or the animal

ScentofGrease2 karma

What do you think about the portrayal of an alligator in the movie "Happy Gilmore"?


It holds Zero reality to it. But it was pretty obvious none of that movie did. Lol

Busy_Measurement92772 karma

How do you feel about the constant killing of crocodiles to make crocs?


Bwhaha...its heart breaking

Sebastian_reaper2 karma

Have you ever had the opportunity to visit Australia Zoo in a professional capacity?


Nope that would be a dream trip!

Sebastian_reaper2 karma

I hope you get to someday.


Me too! Road/water/plane trip!

randomaltname2 karma

It's my understanding that alligators are only in SE USA and China. How did they get separated?


Two different species of Alligator. Just like different species of crocodile all over the world

randomaltname2 karma

Yea, but aren't they the only two species? Seems weird that they'd be so far apart, unless one is an invasive species introduced by man.


They are very different. They have been documented there for a very very long time

DoppelFrog2 karma

Congratulations! How many crocodiles make it to university?


Not many...most give their samples in the field and are released within 15 minutes of capture

MmmChild2 karma

Are crocodiles plotting an uprising against all humans?


If they do we need to surrender now lol


Love this question 😆

MmmChild2 karma




MmmChild1 karma



We are all in trouble if thats true

Markdd82 karma

Is this 2019 article accurate?: Australian crocodiles blamed for spate of deaths in Timor-Leste. Excerpts:

...in the last few decades, the nation has seen a more than 20-fold increase in the number of crocodile attacks....Two Australian-based researchers...made the journey to Timor-Leste to see if this theory might be true, collecting DNA samples....

The existence of Australian crocodiles in Timor-Leste would also confirm that Australian efforts to conserve the animal, which was on the brink of extinction 50 years ago, are having an impact on the regional population. Since it was listed as protected in 1971, the Australian saltwater crocodile population has recovered to healthy levels...

Any more recent data on topic? Is suppressing croc populations via culling justified in some cases? CrocBITE estimates 1,000 people a year killed by crocs.


Nice you have ur crocbite data. Friends on mine that run that...outstanding men. The salties have had a huge come back. The only real reason to take a nuisance animal is the death of a person pet or livestock otherwise there shouldn't really ever be a call for it. Check out the iucncsg for more information on that currently.

RDMvb62 karma

What is currently unknown about crocodiles and alligators and how would finding this out benefit humans or the planet? Not trying to be snarky but I thought we have a pretty good understanding of these things by now.


Good question. We know a teaspoon in about a 2000sq ft homes worth about them. Nobody can say for sure how long they live in the wild, nobody can currently explain why they don't get cancer...how their chromosomes can repair themselves. How their blood clotting factor works...I could go on and on. It.was until maybe the past 40 years that they started being studied and over the past 20 that there started being people understanding how important they were as apex predators from both sides...we can learn from what the eat and the parasites of the amount of them too. I could go on and on. But really very little is known currently

ajax52062 karma

Alligators or Crocodiles? Pick one.



burukhtan2 karma

What noise do crocodiles make?


Each species had a different sound, one of my personal research projects is recording the vocals from all 26 species...adult and juvenile. Some a bellows...so are squeaks or pops or clicks.