Effect of timing of egg collection on growth in hatchling and juvenile American alligators

  • Published source details Elsey R.M. & Trosclair Iii P.L. (2008) Effect of timing of egg collection on growth in hatchling and juvenile American alligators. The Herpetological Bulletin, 105, 13-18.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Relocate nests/eggs for artificial incubation: Crocodilians

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Reptile Conservation
  1. Relocate nests/eggs for artificial incubation: Crocodilians

    A replicated, controlled, paired study in 1999–2004 in an area of marsh in Louisiana, USA (Elsey & Trosclair 2008) found that relocating American alligator Alligator mississippiensis eggs for artificial incubation soon after laying resulted in heavier, longer hatchlings compared to eggs left in the nests until just before hatching. Eggs relocated soon after laying produced heavier (after hatching: 39–56 g; 6–9 months old: 795–1,270 g) and longer (after hatching: 24–26 cm; 6–9 months old: 63–78 cm) hatchlings than eggs from naturally incubated nests (mass: after hatching: 37–53 g; 6–9 months old: 795–1,130 g; length: after hatching: 23–26 cm; 6–9 months old:  62–74 cm). Alligator nests were located by helicopter and ground surveys (three nests in 1999 and six nests in 2003). Half of each clutch was relocated for artificial incubation soon after laying, whereas the other half was left in the nest and collected just prior to hatching. Relocated eggs were artificially incubated at 31–32°C. Weight and length of all hatchlings was measured two days after hatching, and then three more times at 2–3 month intervals.

    (Summarised by: William Morgan)

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