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Alligator Gar Fact Sheet

Alligator Gar Information


Alligator Gar Fact Sheet
Shankar S./Flickr
Alligator Gar (Atractosteus spatula)(picture) are a huge fish that looks like a cross between an alligator and a fish.

  • Alligator Gar Description - This long streamline fish has a head that is flattened and looks much like an alligator. The tail is wide and rounded and there are two fins on top and bottom just in front of the tail fin. There are two more bottom fins, one about half way up the body and another just behind the head. They are similar in looks to a pike in body shape. Their teeth are sharp and protrude on either side of their bill-like mouth.

  • Alligator Gar Size - World record on rod and reel is 279 pounds but they get bigger - some have been reported up to 350 pounds and 10 feet long. Most caught by fishermen and bow fishermen now is around 100 pounds.

  • Alligator Gar Distribution - From the Florida panhandle up the Mississippi drainage to the Ohio and Missouri Rivers where they enter, west to Mexico. The natural distribution is a crescent covering that area of North America.

  • What Alligator Gar Eat - Anything they can get into their mouths! They tend to prey on other fish.

  • Alligator Gar Spawn - In the spring a female Alligator Gar will swim along with two or three males swimming in formation with her. As she releases her eggs the males release sperm and the fertilized eggs fall to the bottom and stick to debris there. The female carries an average of 138,000 eggs.

  • Alligator Gar Attraction to Light - They often are seen on top of the water on bright days but come to light at night to find smaller fish attracted to the light.

  • Alligator Gar Life Cycle - Grow slowly and take a long time to mature. Females mature at 11 years old and live up to 50 years. Males mature at age six and live to at least 26 years old.

  • Alligator Gar Problems - Although they look scary and ugly they do not hurt people and do no damage to game fish populations.

  • Forum Discussion - Join in a discussion of Alligator Gar.

Alligator Gar are not very common and it takes them a long time to grow to huge sizes. They are edible but the eggs are toxic to warm blooded animals and birds.

Check out this gar bowfishing video to see a 90 pounder up close.

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