99% of anyone you ask has heard of alligators. Ask anyone where you find gators and the most likely answer will be America... Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi. Some might even answer North Carolina or Texas. Very few people outside the crocodile community will answer China. But China is correct too, they are the only country outside the US that has their own species of true alligator.
Smaller than their American counterpart, they are a critically endangered red list species. The American alligator made a remarkable comeback from the brink of extinction and estimates put their population to be in the millions. The Chinese alligator on the other hand has suffered greatly due to loss of wetland habitat and fewer than 150 individuals remain in the wild. About 10,000 Chinese alligators have been bred in captivity and authorities are attempting to introduce captive bred animals into the wild to restock the population. Found only in the lower Yangtze River, the Chinese alligator spends about half his life in burrows dug in the side of river banks. Here they’ll wait out the colder months from late October to mid April without really feeding, only venturing from the burrows during the earlier and later stages of this period.