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The American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) Alligator jaw muscles exert great force (about 300 pounds per square inch) when clamping down on unsuspecting prey. Surprisingly, the alligators have very little strength when opening their mouth. Like all members of the crocodilian family, the alligator's jaw muscles are inside of the skull, exposed when the mouth is fully open. They also have a second joint in their jaw that allows the rapid and fierce bite force. A large, adult alligator may only eat once or twice a week, but they make it count when they do eat.