Nesting Ecology of the American Alligator in Southeastern Louisiana

Nesting ecology of the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) has been extensively studied in southwestern Louisiana, but little data exist from other parts of the state. Nesting ecology was investigated in an intermediate salinity marsh in southeastern Louisiana during 1987 and 1988. We located and examined 53 nests. Nesting habitat included spoilbanks, bulltongue (Sagittaria lancifolia) and wiregrass (Spartina patens) marshes. Floating marsh was not used. Mean clutch size was 29.4 ±1.7 eggs and mean egg mass was 64.1 ± 0.3 g. Nest temperatures were within the optimal range of 31 to 32 C. In 1987, 3 (75%) nests on spoilbanks and 4 (36.6%) nests in bulltongue marsh were successful. Remaining nests were destroyed by raccoons or flooding. Nest predation was not observed in 1988, but all nests were lost to flooding from tropical storm Beryl on 9 August.

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