Did You Know? Incredible Chinese Alligator Facts

How many fun Chinese Alligator facts do you know? Make sure to read them all!

Do you enjoy reading about small reptiles? Then you are bound to enjoy interesting facts about the Chinese Alligator. Living in the lower Yangtze river basin, this small species has been unfortunately pushed to the brink of extinction in their natural habitat. Scientifically called the Alligator sinensis, this species is now less than 120 in the wild! Though there are a number of efforts to bolster their conservation in the zoo, it is not nearly enough of a conservation effort to bring this small, 5 ft species back to healthy numbers. Efforts continue still - from helping the males and females in mating at the zoo to purifying their water in the wild, but will it be enough?

The Alligator (Chinese), continues to be the national treasure of the Asian country, with various governmental and non-governmental efforts combined to save them. Even today, you can probably see these majestic, if petite creatures in your nearby zoo or conservatory any time of the day. Read on to learn more about them. Aside from these animals, why not also check out the chameleon and carpet python too?

Chinese alligator

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Fish, clams, snail, waterfowl

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

50-85 lb

How long are they?

1.5 m

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Dark green, black

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Habitat loss, humans

What is their conservation status?

Critically Endangered

Where you'll find them

Ponds, swamps, slow-moving freshwater river, streams


Lower Yangtze river, Zhejiang provinces in eastern China, Anhui





Scientific Name

Alligator sinensis





Chinese Alligator Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Chinese alligator?

The Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis) is a type of alligator.

What class of animal does a Chinese alligator belong to?

Chinese alligators belong to the reptile class.

How many Chinese alligators are there in the world?

As the Chinese alligator is critically endangered, the current approximate population of the Chinese alligators is less than 150 alligators.

Where does a Chinese alligator live?

These Chinese Alligators live on the wetlands places such as the lower Yangtze river basin, primarily in the Anhui province, Zhejiang in eastern China

What is a Chinese alligator's habitat?

These Chinese alligators live in the habitat such as freshwater rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, pond, swamp. They prefer slow-moving waters of moderate to deep depth, with plenty of vegetation and plant life around them.

Who do Chinese alligators live with?

These Chinese alligators lead mostly solitary lives.

How long does a Chinese alligator live?

Chinese alligators can live up to 70 years under human supervision, and much longer in the wild, provided it has all the resources it needs.

How do they reproduce?

These Chinese animals breed once a year. Mating occurs in the season of June and lays the eggs in mid-July and the females protect their eggs in the 70 days of incubation and the eggs hatch in the month of September. The males are not particularly parental and will leave after the eggs have hatched, but the females will stay on, helping the babies grow into juveniles.

What is their conservation status?

The IUCN Red List has categorized the Chinese Alligators as a Critically Endangered species. In the zoo and conservatories, however, their population is slowly growing, and it is assumed they can be released back into the wild soon.

Chinese Alligator Fun Facts

What do Chinese alligators look like?

The Chinese Alligators are small, with stout bodies. They have a tapering snout with a turned-up end, short legs, and a stocky body. They are almost entirely dark green and black in color, which helps them camouflage in the habitat they live in. It has bony upper eyelids as well as a fully armored underbelly, unlike other alligators. In addition, they also do not possess the webbed feet characteristic of alligators. They are at most 5 ft tall, and not more than 100 lb in the wild. In captivity, their weight can increase due to lack of activity.

Read these Chinese alligator basic facts to get an understanding of these endangered reptiles.

How cute are they?

They are certainly very cute, but you should stay away from them nevertheless. They have small, beady eyes, relatively small claws, and tails, and are essentially the miniature version of the alligator. However, while the captive-bred species may stay away from you, the wild population has been known to hunt small dogs, cats, waterfowl, as well as attacking children who wander too close.

How do they communicate?

These Chinese alligators use sound pressure levels. Research reveals that Chinese alligators have an autistic communication system for both long-distance and short-distance. This means they communicate in vibrations, water movements, taste, and smell rather than sound and speech. During mating season, they become more aggressive and communicate with signs of dominance, assertion, and aggression.

How big is a is Chinese alligator?

The Chinese alligator size can reach up to 5 ft in length and can weigh up to 80-100 lb. These Chinese animals are three-quarters of an average human male body.

How fast can a Chinese alligator move?

The Yangtze Alligator can move very fast indeed - at a top 20 mph. Though this is not the fastest speed in the alligator kingdom, this is still a considerable speed.  

How much does a Chinese alligator weigh?

The Chinese Alligator weighs between 80-100 lb. The female will always be marginally smaller than the male and so, weigh a little less.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name for the females or the males of the species.

What would you call a baby Chinese alligator?

There is no particular name for the young of the China Alligator. However, you can find them at many a zoo, or conservatory. They must have set a name for the young at a zoo, and you can ask the keepers what they are. Just do not attempt to interact with these creatures, that is all.

What do they eat?

As carnivores, these animals are not picky about what they eat. In the wild, they can eat small waterfowl, fish, clams, crustaceans, and various other small animals. They have also been known to attack human children and small dogs. However, when they captive-bred, the population only has selected, nutrient-rich meat to eat.

Are they dangerous?

Yes, these animals are dangerous to anyone who wanders too close to the water where they live. Even though they are very small, the wild population of these animals should not be underestimated. With their sharp teeth, tight grip, and strength, this species can definitely eat small children, dogs, cats, and significantly hurt humans.

Would they make a good pet?

These critically endangered species should be your last choice as a pet. They are on the IUCN Red List, which means it is illegal to have them as pets. In addition, they are extremely dangerous to have in the house given their tendencies to hunt smaller animals.

Did you know...

The Chinese Alligators are one of the only alligators with an armored belly. The Chinese alligator armored belly means that in addition to having bony skin on their backs, they have something similar on their bellies too, which is often considered the weakest parts of an alligator.

Chinese alligator vs. American alligator

There are some prominent differences between this species from China and the American alligator. The first is the snout. Where the Chinese alligators have a tapering snout that turns up towards the end, the American alligators have no such features. The Chinese alligator is also smaller and has blunt teeth so it can easily eat crustaceans. This is not the case with the American species, which has sharper teeth to tear into fish and is a larger species than the other alligator (Chinese.)

Why is the Chinese alligator endangered?

There are several causes why this wonderful species in China is having a difficult time surviving, to the degree where their population is than 120 in their habitat, and marginally more in the zoo - their urban, human-made habitat. One is habitat loss, where their swamplands are converted into rice paddies. Along with this, pesticides in the water have rendered their mating useless, and the males and females are unable to reproduce as well as they used to in wild. Thirdly, their constant attacks on humans resulted in them being hunted in the wild so often, that their population of this species almost disappeared from China. However, there are no obvious environmental advantages of having this species around in the wild. Despite this, conservation efforts to get them off the IUCN Red List as critically endangered species continue regardless.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles including sand lizard, or bog turtle.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our realistic alligator coloring pages.



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