This is one of only two species of alligator in the world today. The other is the much more familiar American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) native to the coastal plains of the southeastern United States. They live in the marshlands and tributaries of the lower Yangtzee river valley. Chinese alligators are much smaller bodied than their American cousins growing to a maximum length of just over five feet. Very few individuals are alive in the wild today and some estimates put their number around 200 individuals. In fact, there are probably more Chinese alligators in captivity than there are in the wild. There are a couple of subtle differences between American and Chinese alligators other than the obvious size difference. Chinese alligators have bony plates over both eyelids and more of a tapered snout than that of an American alligator. Knoxville Zoo has a single pair on exhibit and four more on reserve in the kitchen area.