The American alligator is a huge bulky reptile. It inhabits the swamps of the Southern US, from Texas to North Carolina. The alligator is a living fossil and along with other crocodillians it was somehow spared from extinction when the dinosaurs were killed off. Alligator hatchlings are about 8 centimetres in length. The creature is highly adaptable and its menu is extensive. The alligator's diet includes birds, deer, fish, turtles, carrion, dogs and even other alligators. In rare cases, there have been reports of alligators killing and eating humans. Humans hunt alligators for their skin and teeth and divert watercourses. These days, with the help of protected areas such as the Everglades National Park, these collosal reptiles are thriving. Like other crocodillians, the alligator hunt from below with its head above the surface while the rest of its body is hidden. It then hurls itself on top of its quarry with a thrust of its tail. The animal is then pulled underwater and the alligator dismembers its hapless victim. Because it can't chew, the creature swallows huge chunks of its prey whole.