Although alligators build a nest, they do not incubate their eggs themselves. They would break the eggshells with their extremely heavy weight. Instead, they collect plants that rot slowly. This does not sound very appetizing, but when the plants rot, they create warmth, thus hatching the eggs. If the temperature is less than 34 degrees, female alligators hatch, male alligators hatch if the temperature is more than 34 degrees. The young stay around their mother for up to two years and feed on small fish, frogs or insects until they are grown.