If alligators lay an average of 40 eggs a mating season, how come we don’t have an alligator epidemic? Rabbits only have 12 offspring by comparison!!

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Seriously. Some gators can lay NINETY EGGS! How is this not a problem? How does nature handle this? Why aren’t we up to our knees in big scaly bellowing carnivores?

In: 12

Baby alligators have a lot of predators. Birds of prey. Snakes. Big fish. *Alligators*

Of those 90 eggs big mama lays, 89 won’t reach adulthood.

This is typical for most animals that crank out dozens of spawn – it’s an adaptation to low survival rates.

Only a fraction of them survive to adulthood.

Same for most animals who produce a lot of offspring. They do so because the chances of survival for each one is so low. Think of those videos of thousands of turtles going down the beach to the sea. A lot of them will be killed by birds before they get to the sea and then by other animals once in the sea.

For a growing population of alligators, of the 38 eggs, about 24 survive to hatching. Of the survivors, about 10 make it to 1 year, and 5 to adulthood. The survival rate is atrocious because they’re born as tiny lizards.

Source: https://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/wildlife/alligator/facts/

Along with the previous answers:

The larger the animal, the less often they reproduce, on average.

baby alligators are tender and tasty, can’t defend themselves very well, and everyone knows it. they are basically a quick and easy meal for anything that finds them until they get big enough to be a threat to other predators. out of a group of ninety, the vast majority will never reach that stage.