What Do Alligators Eat? Amazing Facts About The Apex Amphibian Predator

Martha Martins
Mar 01, 2024 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Nov 22, 2021
Upon seeing adult alligators, people often wonder, what do alligators eat?
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.3 Min

Alligators are an animal species belonging to the family Alligatoridae and the genus alligator.

The biggest known alligator was discovered in Louisiana, whereas the Chinese alligator is much shorter in length. The Chinese alligator is found in the eastern part of China.

Alligators use their powerful teeth to hunt and capture their prey at night. Once the prey has been captured, they drag it under the water to drown and then devour the prey. In the wild, alligators eat only once a week.

The meal which all crocodilians eat is primarily determined by their maturity and body habitus. Alligators possess powerful, flat tails which they use to push themselves while gliding through water bodies. Some humans eat alligator flesh as well. There are a few alligators that can thrive in confinement. There is no reliable estimate of the number of alligators in the world since various species of alligators can be found all over the planet.

Read along to find out what do alligators eat? Afterward, also read about if alligators hibernate and how many teeth alligators have here on Kidadl.

Where do alligators live?

Freshwater and sluggish streams provide habitats for American alligators. Their bodies can only handle salt for relatively short periods because they lack salt ducts. Alligators are mostly located in quietly moving waters and streams. Alligators can be found in marshes, wetlands, and lagoons.

Large alligators choose to stay in isolation since they dislike sharing their territory with anybody or anything. They attempt to guard their turf so that nobody can approach them. But the fact is that alligators are afraid of humans and retreat promptly when they see a human approaching.

Young alligators remain with their moms until they reach sexual maturity. An American alligator can live between 30-50 years, depending on environmental conditions such as diet, nourishment, and weather variations.

How much is the bite force of an alligator?

Alligators and crocodiles feature powerful jaws which can shatter the bones of even the most powerful beasts. A person can rip through a steak with 150-200 psi of power. During eating, the biggest crocodilian species may create roughly 19 times the level of power.

Whilst assessing the biting power of an alligator or a crocodile isn't for the weak of the heart, several researchers stated that the most challenging aspect was persuading these beasts to return the bite bar. A gauge linked to the gadget provides researchers with measurements in psi of an animal's biting power.

One American alligator closed its jaws around the gadget, generating a measurement of 2,980 psi and ranking sixth among species whose biting force was measured. In contrast, hyenas, leopards, and lions bite with strength of roughly 1,000 psi. In 2003, the current bite champ at the University of Florida had been an American alligator nicknamed Hercules. His biting strength was recorded as 2,125 psi, putting alligators in the spotlight with its biting force combined with its length of 12.5 ft (3.81 m) and its weight of 665 lb (301 kg).

We know that apex predators like cold-blooded wild alligators are primarily carnivores that can kill their prey with one bite and are an important part of the food chain. A single bite is all it takes for predators like alligators and crocodiles to finish off their prey.

Many people wonder if alligators are invertebrates. No, the alligator does not belong to the group of invertebrates since you may find alligators having a backbone.

What do alligators eat? Be it large animals or even something like a smaller animal or a small fish, other alligators living nearby hunt down their prey and consume it all. The large alligator can feast and engulf an entire deer, while smaller alligators or juvenile alligators prey on small mammals and small animals.

Alligators prey on a range of small fish and smaller animals whom they can kill with a single bite.

Did alligators evolve from dinosaurs?

The American alligator is a species of crocodile of the order Alligatoridae. Crocodilians are enormous semi-aquatic amphibians prevalent in southeastern US and in China. American alligators are a kind of reptile. Alligators can only inhale via their lungs and therefore have flaky skin to protect from dehydrating.

Baby alligators develop from eggs laid on the ground. If you were to ask paleontologists just what oldest dinosaur relatives looked like, most of them would say they looked like little dinosaurs: tiny, meat-eating creatures that moved on hind limbs.

Archosaurs originated from dinosaurs' predecessors who were amniotes, i.e., egg-laying; and diapsids, i.e., having two arches on the skull. During the Triassic period, around 3.5 billion years ago, an Archosaur lineage split into three major groupings. Pterosaurs were the first sub-category. These were amphibians with the ability to fly. The middle group was dinosaurs. The period of dinosaurs would have started at this moment, and dinosaurs controlled the globe for millennia until the C-T Catastrophe. Crocodilians, from which contemporary alligators and crocodiles developed, were the final group.

Can alligators run?

In waters, alligators may reach speeds of up to 20 mph (32 kph). Alligators are still more accustomed to life in water instead of on land, so they can't move swiftly while they're on the soil. Alligators might not want to sprint large distances, and while they may move swiftly in the water, they are normally sluggish on the ground.

Despite their hefty bulk and sluggish metabolic rates, alligators can reach speeds of up to 30 mph (48 kph) in brief spurts. This pace is generally demonstrated whenever an alligator lunges for food on the shore of a body of water rather than racing on the land.

While alligators may run, alligators usually only do so to escape dangerous circumstances. There is also no available data of alligators pursuing humans or other terrestrial animals to feed on individuals. The misconception that you should sprint in zigzag formations to evade a pursuing alligator has no foundation. Irrespective of how quickly alligators may move, whether zig-zagging or otherwise, you must never confront an alligator on the ground or dive in waters where an alligator has been sighted.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for what do alligators eat, then take a look at how alligators mate or if alligators can hear.

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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

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Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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