The Chinese Alligator is a member of the alligator family that lives in China. They are in danger of extinction because of extermination (farmers consider them a menace to their rice paddies) and because of habitat pollution from agricultural chemicals.
Total length: 1.5m (Max. 2m)
(Source: Doubutsu Sekai-isan* Red Data Animals Kodansha)(*World Animal Heritage)
The Chinese Alligator lives in swamps and ponds in the lower basin of the Yangtze River, which is the last stretch of the Chang River in China.
They like to eat pond snails and other shell fish. They may also catch fish and birds.
The Chinese Alligator may grow to two meters in length, but it does not attack humans. Chinese books written more than 2000 years ago describe them as "harmless to humans".
Exterminated for being a menace
Unlike other species of alligators, the Chinese Alligator has remained relatively safe from hunters seeking their skin. Although their hide was once used to make drums, it is not a popular material for making leather products. So why then are these alligators, which never attack humans, disappearing? One reason is that people consider them to be a "menace". They have been exterminated in blame for attacking livestock birds and for ruining rice paddies.
Loss of habitat!
Another reason for their decline is said to be environmental pollution caused by agricultural chemicals. This has reduced what used to be a spacious habitat for the Chinese Alligator. Fortunately, artificial breeding efforts that started in the 1960s have been successful, producing more alligators than there are in the wild. Unfortunately, these offspring cannot be released back into the wild unless there is a safe habitat for them to return to.
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