How Long Do Alligators Live?

A typical alligator will live between 30 and 50 years. How long do alligators live if they have enough food and are safe? There are many that think 50 years is not the max for an alligator.

Crocodiles, Alligators, and Flounders have no finite life span. Some scientists think that alligators could continue to live forever unless affected by their environment (disease, predators, lack of food, etc). In the animal sciences we don’t know many things. Just because we don’t know the natural death age of a crocodile or alligator doesn’t mean they don’t have one. How long do alligators live if they have enough food and are safe? It depends on who you ask. The idea that a crocodile could live millions or tens of millions of years and be the size of a mountain if only it could feed itself might sound a little crazy.

Only about a dozen species of animals are known to achieve maximum ages exceeding 100 yrs.  The Alligator conceivably can live over 100 years. The physiology of this species may provide valuable clues to understanding the mechanisms that sustain longevity and retard senescence.

Negligible senescence

Senescence is a term used to indicate gradual deterioration of the body with age. In simpler words, you could call it aging. Negligible senescence is the term for lack of symptoms of aging in a few select organisms. Senescent organisms do not have measurable reductions in their reproductive capability with age. Death rates in negligibly senescent organisms do not increase with age as they do in senescent organisms.

Not Aging Isn’t Always a Great Thing

There’s also a very sad side to this. While not immortal there’s rather a lot of fish that will continue to grow for a very long time, reaching fairly large sizes.

A while back I read a bunch of accounts by family businesses that organize ocean fishing trips. Because these people have been in the same business for generations they’ve made some very interesting realizations that not enough people seem to know about.

These shops often hold informal contests where they keep track of the biggest fish caught during each fishing expedition. And what they noticed is that over human generations the fish are getting smaller.

People think that fish populations in the ocean are healthy because they go out there, dive, see fish and everything looks ok. But these fishing expeditions are noticing that while they’re catching the same species of fish, a price winning big fish today would have been positively small fry in the days of their grandfather or great grand father operating the shop. And the size of prize winning fish back in the fifties are literally unseen these days. Fish simply aren’t able to reach that size anymore in the world we created. Too much overfishing and environmental destruction.

This is a terrible thing considering it’s the experienced, full size adults of a species that are the most valuable. And we are now learning that fish don’t even get the chance to grow to that size anymore.

This kind of destruction doesn’t even show up in most environmental reports because it takes a 50+ year dataset in order to properly see the damage being done. It’s not noticeable in studies that last a few years.


The Oldest Alligator Living in Captivity

Alligator Mooya

Alligator Mooya (Serbian:Muja) was brought over from Germany along with his partner to Belgrade Zoo in 1937. He was little over one year old at that time. Twice in the past Mooya almost died when Belgrade Zoo was almost completely destroyed in heavy Nazi bombardment of 1941 and with the Allies 1944.

Many believe that his natural ability to live in hot and cold environment helped Mooya to survive all these years. Most of his life Mooya spent alone since he lost his partner in mid 60s. According to zoologists working with Mooya in Belgrade Zoo he never lost his appetite! How long do alligators live if they live in a zoo?  Apparently much longer if they keep eating! Alligators aren’t among the longest living animals.  But they’re definitely not the shortest.

Alligators Might Not Age Because They Don’t Do Much

Alligators seem to be trapped in an ancient and mindless way of life. Have you ever seen an alligator in the wild? Alligators don’t do much. Alligators are cold-blooded, so they sit in the sun to warm up. They get hot, and they crawl into the water and cool off. Once in a while they eat. But they were here before the dinosaurs and with the dinosaurs. And they’re still here.

Why Don’t We See 100 Year Old Alligators Then?

While alligators might not age in quite the same way as humans they can become quite old.  They don’t live for centuries because they normally die of some complication (disease, starvation, etc.) before dying at any specific observed “end of life” age. As you can imagine, we haven’t been keeping alligators and crocodiles in a healthy and well documented captivity for too long.

Alligator Joke That Makes More Sense

Alligators can live up to 100 years…which is why there’s an increased chance that they will see you later.