Baby Alligator: 6 Incredible Hatchling Facts & 6 Pictures!

Written by Sadie Dunlap
Updated: January 23, 2023
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Have you ever thought about the fact that alligators look an awful lot like dinosaurs? Maybe this is because they are very old creatures. Maybe you’re curious if a bite from a baby alligator would hurt, or if they even have any teeth when they’re born.

 If you want to learn a new interesting thing or two about the baby alligator hatchling, keep reading!

#1: A Baby Alligator is Called a Hatchling!

baby alligator and mother

Baby alligators are called hatchlings!

©Marc Pletcher/

Baby alligators are considered hatchlings. The mother alligator is called a cow and the father alligator is called the bull, this is true for all adult male and female alligators. Hatchlings break free of their shell prison with their egg tooth that they often lose directly after using. This tooth is also called a caruncle.

#2: Alligator Hatchlings are Ancient 

tiny baby alligator

The earliest relative to the alligator hatchling was born millions of years ago.


Did you know that the first baby alligator ancestor was born more than eight million years ago? It’s true! Alligators are one of the oldest animals in the animal kingdom and share some traits with ancient dinosaurs!

They can be traced back to the Cretaceous Period, which is not known for being a kind period to live in. At that time the Earth was going through a lot of changes to become what it is today. For example, the land was shifting, it was hot, and sea levels were rising. Many things stood in the way of the alligator’s legacy, but they remain a strong species today! 

#3: Alligator Hatchlings Have Many Teeth!

baby alligator closeup

An alligator hatchling’s teeth are tiny and plentiful.


At birth, hatchlings have anywhere from sixty to eighty teeth! They have a mouthful of tiny little razor blades that could do a good amount of damage if given the opportunity. One of these teeth is called a caruncle, or an egg tooth, that helps them break free of the egg by breaking through the shell. Baby alligators lose this egg tooth shortly after hatching.

#4: Baby Alligators Talk Before They Hatch 

baby alligator portrait

Alligator babies cry from inside their eggs before hatching.

©Tony Campbell/

When it comes time for the babies to hatch, they start letting out high-pitched whimpering noises. This noise sounds similar to puppies who cry. After hatching, the babies are still very vocal and for a tiny scaly creature, it’s actually quite a cute noise. Hatchlings are laid in eggs inside a mound of sand of dirt and dried grass and they immediately start to call out for their mother so she will return to the nest and greet her newly hatched babies. 

#5: Baby Alligators are One the Fastest Reptiles in the World

baby alligator hatching

Alligator hatchlings are some of the fastest reptiles in the world.


While baby alligators may be smaller than their crocodile cousins, they are certainly faster. Alligators can run up to fifteen miles per hour! Who knew these nearly footlong babies were so fast?

Alligators live in two places in the world, the United States and China, where they are nearly extinct. Alligators can also swim up to twenty miles per hour in the water. All around, alligators are very fast creatures, therefore for your safety if you see one in the wild you should be calm and quiet and back away.

#6: Male Baby Alligators Grow Throughout Their Lives

newborn baby alligator

Male alligators continue to grow well into their adulthood.


There’s no doubt that male alligators grow to be larger than their female counterparts. However, female alligators only grow for about ten years after birth. Males, on the other hand, continue to get bigger throughout their entire lives! Male alligators can weigh beyond 1,000 pounds! Although they can grow that long, the average male alligator only measures about eight to eleven feet long.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © 130392182/

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are baby alligators called?

Baby alligators are called hatchlings, a mother alligator is called a cow and the group of mothers and babies would be called a pod. An adult male alligator is called a bull. 

How much do baby alligators weigh?

Hatchlings weigh about 56 grams when hatch and are almost 10 inches long. For every year, they gain about a foot of length and usually stop growing at around 10 to 11 feet for females, and for males, they get to be about 14 feet long on average. 

What do baby alligators eat?

These babies have a good appetite, just like their larger moms and dads. However, hatchlings have to eat smaller things since they are smaller. Hatchlings snack on shrimp, small fish, and bugs like flies and snails. 

Where do baby alligators live?

Hatchlings live in the nest, which is near a source of water, in a pod. The pod is made up of other hatchlings and the mother alligator who is aggressively protecting her babies. They all take residence in a nest built by the mother alligator before she lays her eggs. The nest is made of dirt or sand and dried grass. 

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