Determining the Size of American Alligators Using Hind-foot Track Length

Size distribution information is useful for crocodilian management, but can be hard to obtain. Indirect and less costly demographic inferences made from track measurements may be valuable for management decisions. We related hind-foot lengths (HF) with total length (TL) to determine if we could indirectly assess alligator size using track length. Regression showed that HF was an excellent predictor (F1,246= 15722.9, R2=0.98, P<0.01) of TL and track length was an exceptional predictor of HF (F1,14=7520.3, R2= 1.00, P<0.01). The correlation between track length and HF length also was significant (N= 15, r=0.99, P <0.01). Thus, alligator size can be accurately estimated from measures of track length at sites where capture and direct measurement is impractical.

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