As the days continue to warm, guests on McGee's airboat and swamp tours will begin to see more and more alligators swimming through the swamp or basking in the sun on logs or along the banks of the Atchafalaya Basin. In order to give you a better understanding of what you're seeing, we created this info-graphic that compares the length of the alligator to its age.
As the image explains, using the red line graph to represent the length to age comparison, an alligator grows very quickly from birth through age 5, growing an incredible one foot per year. Growth then slows slightly until age 10, when the alligator reaches approximately 8 feet in length. However, after 10 years, a female gator will have reached full size (9 feet), and a male alligator's growth rate will slow considerably, growing less than an inch per year. For example: A male alligator that is 30 years old would be close to 11 feet long, but by the time it reaches 50 years old (20 years later), it will have only grown less than two feet. This means many of the largest gators in the Atchafalaya Basin (most not exceeding 13 or 14 feet) were being born around the same time that man was landing on the moon!
Knowing what you now know, looking back at the graphic, how old do you think the largest alligator on record (an astonishing 19'-2") must have been?!