Alligators are amazing reptiles that have been around from the age of dinosaurs. By reading this guide below you will learn what do alligators eat in the wild.
They play a critical role in the ecosystems where they live and surprisingly have not changed much in physical appearance from their first existence.
Alligators are carnivores, which means they mostly eat meat and they can be classified as predators.
As a baby gator when they hatch they are roughly 10 – 12 inches in length.
Depending on where they live in the wild and how readily available their food is a gator can grow between 2 to 12 inches per year.
Another thing that factors in to the growth of a gator is the sex and the age of the gator.
When an alligator matures its growth rate will slow down which is similar to that of a human.
It is normally found that a female gator will grow slower and smaller than a male alligator.
On record of the the largest alligators ever found was roughly 19 feet and 2 inches. This alligator was found in the Marsh Island of Louisiana.
Alligators can live about 100 years but on average live roughly 70 years.
In order for a gator to live a longer life they will need to endure rough weather, attacks and fights with other predators.
Dietary Habits Of Alligators
Baby alligators like to feed on small animals such as:
- small fish
As the gators grow in size their diets change to things such as:
- larger fish
- small birds
At full maturity gators can each much larger prey such as:
- large birds
- large fish
Alligators Are Carnivores
Gators love eating meat and will get it at every chance they can.
If you were to look at the stomach of the alligator besides meat you may find stones, fishing lures and other items such as cans.
Alligators mostly feed at night time and do not chew or cut their food. They like to swallow their prey whole if they can.
The teeth of an alligator are conical in shape and they are designed to catch their prey so they cannot get away.
If an alligator catches a larger prey they cannot swallow whole they will have to shake their heads to tear a piece of their prey off as they are unable to chew their prey with their teeth alone.
Another option that alligators do is keep their prey long enough in their mouth until it deteriorates to the point its suitable to swallow.
During the dry season a gator will look for gator holes where they can stay while the dry season continues.
These gator holes are often the only place in their location where a alligator can find water.
These gator holes provide sustenance for gators and also other wild life inhabiting the area.
During this time alligators often eat gars which are a trash fish.
When this happens game fish such as bass are saved from being eaten by gars because they are being eaten by gators.
Alligators have now become known as a renewable resource and play a vital roll in the aquaculture industry.
Additionally gators have been hunted for many years because they over populate certain areas and can be dangerous to the people living in those areas.
The people who hunt these gators are rewarded with payment for the meat the gators provide along with reducing the population of the gators.