Internet rumor has it that the alligator received its name from the Spanish explorers that claimed Florida in the 1500’s. If true, I’m sure that el legarto didn’t simply mean a lizard, but THE Lizard! For the impressive alligator is no mere squamate, but on the order of a greater magnitude: Crocodilia!
The order Crocodilia are large, predatory reptiles. They are primarily carnivorous and feast upon fish, crustaceans, birds, mammals and even other reptiles. While they are quite imposing in appearance, and some crocodilians have attacked humans (the largest number of attacks comes from the Nile crocodile), the American Alligator is rarely a threat to people.
According to a Georgia Department of Natural Resources publication, “the opportunity for humans to experience any of the alligator’s weapons first hand will come only to those who attempt to capture one. Under natural conditions, alligators are usually shy, retiring creatures that generally mind their own business, which does not include promoting encounters with humans.”
Still, el legarto is no mere lizard!
iNaturalist observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/46517992