Q:

How do alligators breathe?

A:

Alligators breathe by inhaling air into their lungs. They do not have gills and cannot breathe underwater, though they can stay underwater for intervals of up to two hours, and it is believed they can hold their breath even longer if necessary.

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Alligator lungs have unidirectional air flow, which means that air moving through the lungs is largely fresh air and has a high oxygen content. Bird lungs also have unidirectional air flow. The lungs of mammals have bidirectional air flow, meaning the air moves back and forth into and out of the lungs. Because of this, air coming into the lungs of a mammal is mixed with air that has been in the lungs for a while. This mixed air has less oxygen. In alligator lungs, more oxygen is available to diffuse into the blood.

Alligators primarily inhabit fresh water. They tend to submerge themselves underwater for between 10 and 15 minutes. When an alligator goes underwater, its nostrils, ears and throat are automatically closed off by a flap. These flaps prevent water from entering the lungs or stomach. Alligators slow their heart rate and close certain blood lines in their bodies, allowing more blood to get to the vital organs. The blood carries oxygen to these organs, delaying the need for the alligator to breathe.

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    Where do alligators live?

    A:

    American alligators live in the southeastern portion of the United States, with largest populations residing in Florida and Louisiana. The Chinese alligator is native to China.

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    What are some facts that are all about alligators?

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    There are two alligator species: the Chinese alligator and the American alligator. Alligators generally do not attack humans, but they go on the offensive when threatened or protecting their eggs and young.

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    There are two species of alligator in the world: the Chinese alligator and the American alligator. Both species have movable tongues attached to the lower jaw. This is one feature that distinguishes an alligator from a crocodile, as a crocodile has an immovable tongue on the roof of its mouth.

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    How do alligators communicate?

    A:

    Alligators communicate with one another by emitting deep, loud roaring sounds that travel as far as 165 yards. When alligators are courting, they release purring coughs, referred to as chumpfs. Baby alligators begin communicating with their mothers while they are still inside their eggs by emitting shrill whining noises to announce their arrival when they are preparing to hatch.

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