How Long Can Alligators Hold Their Breath?

Although alligators cannot breathe underwater, they are able to hold their breath for long periods of time while submerged.  Usually these creatures are able to hold their breath anywhere from 4 to 15 minutes; however they have been known to remain underwater for longer periods of time if necessary. The longest time an alligator has been known to hold its breath varies from 30 minutes to 2 hours.  It has been suggested that they may even be able to hold their breath for longer than an hour or two if needed.

Typically when an alligator goes underwater it does so by submerging itself in the water or sinking to the bottom of the water.  Afterwards they generally hold their breath and remain there for 10-15 minutes.  When an alligator submerges itself, a flap that the creature is equipped with automatically closes off the alligator’s ears and nostrils.

Another flap closes off the back of the alligator’s throat.  This flap blocks water so that it does not enter the creature’s stomach and/or lungs.  The alligator also has transparent eyelids that cover its eyes so that they can see under water.  When an alligator is not active or when the weather is colder, alligators are able to hold their breath even longer.  This enables them to wait for prey to come to them before they even realize that the gator is there.

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