It Just Doesn’t Get Any Gator

Florida may be the Sunshine State, but it’s just as famous for its alligators. Over 3 million of them live in the swampy Everglades. They love the warm, muddy water, and the egrets, herons and other birds they eat for lunch. There are so many gators that if you ride through on an airboat (a flat-bottomed boat blown by a giant fan), they swim right up to you! Even though this one in the photo is partly underwater, we can tell how long it is by using a gator math fact: if you measure from a gator’s eyes to its nostrils (nose holes), that number in inches tells you how long the whole gator is in feet. And the longer the gator, the older it probably is. The tour guides think this critter is 80 years old!

Wee ones: Who has more legs, you or your pet gator? (Reminder: An alligator has 4 legs.)

Little kids: Just like a gator’s snout can do math, so can your body! If you hold up your foot to your opposite arm, your foot will fit almost perfectly between your wrist and elbow. Try it! Is either one a little longer? Bonus: If you get 3 pet gators, and one is 4 feet long, one is 8 feet long, and the 3rd one’s length is halfway between those lengths, how long is your 3rd pet gator?

Big kids: Alligators have lots of teeth. If a gator has 80 teeth, how many more teeth does it have than you? Count your teeth to figure it out! Bonus: Florida is the only state where both crocodiles and alligators live. If on your visit there you run into 32 animals, and that includes 7 times as many gators as crocs, how many of each did you find?

Answers:

Wee ones: The gator has more legs.

Little kids: Different for everyone, but it should work pretty well for both kids and grown-ups! Bonus: 6 feet long, since that’s 2 feet longer than one and 2 feet shorter than the other.

Big kids: Different for everyone: solve by subtracting your tooth count from 80. Bonus: 28 gators and 4 crocs. Each croc has its own 7 gator friends, which makes a group of 8. You can make 4 of those groups out of 32 animals. So there are 4 crocs, and then 4 x 7 gators.

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