Where Do American Alligators Live? – North American Nature.

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Alligators are nocturnal and feed primarily at night. Younger alligators eat insects, shrimps, snails, small fish, tadpoles and frogs. Adult alligators eat fish, birds, turtles, other reptiles and mammals. Alligators swallow their prey whole.

Their conical teeth are used for catching the prey, not tearing it apart. Alligators have about 80 teeth and when an alligator loses a tooth, it regrows. Alligators do not sit on their eggs, which are laid in nests, because it would crush them.

The rotting vegetation in the nest warms the eggs. The temperature of the nest determines the sex of the hatchlings. If the eggs are incubated over 93 degrees Fahrenheit 34 degrees Celsius , the embryo develops as a male; temperatures below 86 degrees Fahrenheit 30 degrees Celsius result in female embryos.

Between these temperatures, both sexes are produced. The natural sex ratio at hatching is five females to one male. The eggs hatch in two months, producing hatchlings about 6 inches long 15 centimetres. The female defends the nest from predators.

The female alligator will provide protection for the young for about a year if they remain in the area. Alligators are among the most nurturing of the reptiles. The average life span of an Alligator is around 35 — 50 years old, although it is said they can live to a maximum of 80 years old.

This is more possible of Alligators living in captivity. Crocodyloformes the group encompassing crocodylians and other similar but extinct reptiles evolved during the Triassic Period, about million years ago. Crocodylians a group which includes alligators, crocodiles, gharials or gavials, caiman appeared during the Cretaceous period , about 98 million years ago, towards the end of the Mesozoic Era, the Age of Reptiles. It lived during the late Cretaceous period about to 65 million years ago.

This carnivore lived on the shores of the large shallow sea called the Tethys Sea, that covered much of North America. It survived on fish and perhaps some species of dinosaurs. Very few Deinosuchus fossils have been found. Check out more animals that begin with the letter A. I’ve always been passionate about animals which led me to a career in training and behaviour. Manage consent. Close Privacy Overview This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website.

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The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category “Performance”. It does not store any personal data. Functional Functional. Functional cookies help to perform certain functionalities like sharing the content of the website on social media platforms, collect feedbacks, and other third-party features. Young are born with yellow bands around their bodies and are protected by their mother for up to one year.

Historically, hunting had decimated their population, and the American alligator was listed as an endangered species by the Endangered Species Act of Subsequent conservation efforts have allowed their numbers to increase and the species was removed from endangered status in The species is the official state reptile of three states: Florida , Louisiana , and Mississippi. In , Georges Cuvier created the genus Alligator ; [13] the American alligator and the Chinese alligator are the only extant species in the genus.

They are grouped in the family Alligatoridae with the caimans. The superfamily Alligatoroidea includes all crocodilians fossil and extant that are more closely related to the American alligator than to either the Nile crocodile Crocodylus niloticus or the gharial Gavialis gangeticus.

Members of this superfamily first arose in the late Cretaceous , about —65 million years ago Mya. Leidyosuchus of Alberta is the earliest known fossil, from the Campanian era 83 to 72 Mya. Fossil alligatoroids have been found throughout Eurasia , because bridges across both the North Atlantic and the Bering Strait connected North America to Eurasia about 66 to 23 Mya.

Alligators and caimans split in North America during the late Cretaceous, and the caimans reached South America by the Paleogene, before the closure of the Isthmus of Panama during the Neogene period, from about 23 to 2. The Chinese alligator likely descended from a lineage that crossed the Bering land bridge during the Neogene. Fossils identical to the existing American alligator are found throughout the Pleistocene , from 2. Unlike the other extinct alligator species of the same genus, the fossil skull was virtually indistinguishable from that of the modern American alligator.

This alligator and the American alligator are now considered to be sister taxa, meaning that the A. The alligator’s full mitochondrial genome was sequenced in the s, and it suggests the animal evolved at a rate similar to mammals and greater than birds and most cold-blooded vertebrates. Domestic American alligators range from long and slender to short and robust, possibly in response to variations in factors such as growth rate, diet, and climate.

The American alligator is a relatively large species of crocodilian. On average, it is the largest species in the family Alligatoridae , with only the black caiman being possibly bigger. Similar to many other reptiles that range expansively into temperate zones, American alligators from the northern end of their range, such as southern Arkansas , Alabama , and northern North Carolina , tend to reach smaller sizes.

Large adult American alligators tend to be relatively robust and bulky compared to other similar-length crocodilians; for example, captive males measuring 3 to 4 m 9 ft 10 in to 13 ft 1 in were found to weigh to kg to lb , although captive specimens may outweigh wild specimens due to lack of hunting behavior and other stressors. There is a common belief stated throughout reptilian literature that crocodilians including the American alligator exhibit indeterminate growth, meaning the animal continues to grow for the duration of its life.

However, these claims are largely based on assumptions and observations of juvenile and young adult crocodilians. One long-term mark-recapture study done at the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center in South Carolina found evidence to support patterns of determinate growth. The study allowed for the observation of life histories noting some American alligators can possibly live over the age of seventy. This studies prolong documentation of growth rates, along with several other growing studies point toward the more newly supported pattern of determinant growth in the American alligator.

Large male American alligators reach an expected maximum size up to 4. During the 19th and 20th centuries, larger males reaching 5 to 6 m 16 ft 5 in to 19 ft 8 in were reported. American alligators do not normally reach such extreme sizes. In mature males, most specimens grow up to about 3.

While noticeable in very mature specimens, the sexual dimorphism in size of the American alligator is relatively modest among crocodilians. Dorsally, adult American alligators may be olive, brown, gray, or black.

However, they are on average one of the most darkly colored modern crocodilians although other alligatorid family members are also fairly dark , and can be reliably be distinguished by color via their more blackish dorsal scales against crocodiles. These American alligators are extremely rare and almost impossible to find in the wild. They could only survive in captivity, as they are very vulnerable to the sun and predators. American alligators have teeth. When the jaws are closed, the edges of the upper jaws cover the lower teeth, which fit into the jaws’ hollows.

Like the spectacled caiman , this species has a bony nasal ridge, though it is less prominent. An easy characteristic to distinguish the two is the fourth tooth. Whenever an American alligator’s mouth is closed, the fourth tooth is no longer visible. It is enclosed in a pocket in the upper jaw.

Adult American alligators held the record as having the strongest laboratory-measured bite of any living animal, measured at up to 13, N 1, This experiment had not been, at the time of the paper published, replicated in any other crocodilians, and the same laboratory was able to measure a greater bite force of 16, N 1, No significant difference is noted between the bite forces of male and female American alligators of equal size.

When on land, an American alligator moves either by sprawling or walking, the latter involving the reptile lifting its belly off the ground. The sprawling of American alligators and other crocodylians is not similar to that of salamanders and lizards, being similar to walking.

Therefore, the two forms of land locomotion can be termed the “low walk” and the “high walk”. Unlike most other land vertebrates, American alligators increase their speed through the distal rather than proximal ends of their limbs.

American alligators, being native both to the Nearctic and Neotropical realms , are found in the wild in the Southeastern United States , from the Lowcountry in South Carolina , south to Everglades National Park in Florida, and west to the southeastern region of Texas. Some of these locations appear to be relatively recent introductions, with often small but reproductive populations.

In the future, possible American alligator populations may be found in areas of Mexico adjacent to the Texas border. American alligators are currently listed as least concern by the IUCN Red List , even though from the s to the mids, they were being hunted and poached by humans unsustainably. In , the U. Fish and Wildlife Service pronounced the American alligator fully recovered. Historically, hunting and habitat loss have severely affected American alligator populations throughout their range, and whether the species would survive was in doubt.

In , the American alligator was listed as an endangered species under a law that was the precursor Endangered Species Act of , since it was believed to be in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Protection under the Endangered Species Act allowed the species to recuperate in many areas where it had been depleted. States began monitoring their American alligator populations to ensure that they would continue to grow. In , the USFWS removed the animal from the endangered species list, as it was considered to be fully recovered.

The USFWS still regulates the legal trade in American alligators and their products to protect still endangered crocodilians that may be passed off as American alligators during trafficking. They inhabit swamps, streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes.

A lone American alligator was spotted for over 10 years living in a river north of Atlanta, Georgia. While they prefer fresh water, American alligators may sometimes wander into brackish water, [66] but are less tolerant of salt water than American crocodiles, as the salt glands on their tongues do not function.

During summer, males still preferred open water, while females remained in the swamps to construct their nests and lay their eggs. Both sexes may den underneath banks or clumps of trees during the winter. In some areas of their range, American alligators are an unusual example of urban wildlife ; golf courses are often favoured by the species due to an abundance of water and a frequent supply of prey animals such as fish and birds.

American alligators are less vulnerable to cold than American crocodiles. American alligators primarily bask on shore, but also climb into and perch on tree limbs to bask if no shoreline is available. This is not often seen, since if disturbed, they quickly retreat back into the water by jumping from their perch. American alligators modify wetland habitats, most dramatically in flat areas such as the Everglades, by constructing small ponds known as alligator holes.

This behavior has qualified the American alligator to be considered a keystone species. Alligator holes retain water during the dry season and provide a refuge for aquatic organisms, which survive the dry season by seeking refuge in alligator holes, so are a source of future populations. The construction of nests along the periphery of alligator holes, as well as a buildup of soils during the excavation process, provides drier areas for other reptiles to nest and a place for plants that are intolerant of inundation to colonize.

Alligator holes are an oasis during the Everglades dry season, so are consequently important foraging sites for other organisms. The teeth of the American alligator are designed to grip prey, but cannot rip or chew flesh like teeth of some other predators such as canids and felids , and depend on their gizzard , instead, to masticate their food. The American alligator is capable of biting through a turtle’s shell or a moderately sized mammal bone.

American alligators have been documented using lures to hunt prey such as birds. By balancing sticks and branches on their heads, American alligators are able to lure birds looking for suitable nesting material to kill and consume. This strategy, which is shared by the mugger crocodile , is particularly effective during the nesting season, in which birds are more likely to gather appropriate nesting materials. Fish and other aquatic prey taken in the water or at the water’s edge form the major part of American alligator’s diet and may be eaten at any time of the day or night.

Adult American alligators also spend considerable time hunting on land, up to feet 50 m from water, ambushing terrestrial animals on trailsides and road shoulders. Usually, terrestrial hunting occurs on nights with warm temperatures.

Additionally, American alligators have recently been filmed and documented killing and eating sharks and rays; four incidents documented indicated that bonnetheads , lemon sharks , Atlantic stingrays , and nurse sharks are components of the animal’s diet. Sharks are also known to prey on American alligators, in turn, indicating that encounters between the two predators are common. American alligators are considered an apex predator throughout their range. They are opportunists and their diet is determined largely by both their size and age and the size and availability of prey.

Most American alligators eat a wide variety of animals, including invertebrates , fish , birds , turtles , snakes , amphibians , and mammals. Hatchlings mostly feed on invertebrates such as insects, insect larvae , snails , spiders , and worms.

As they grow, American alligators gradually expand to larger prey. Once an American alligator reaches full size and power in adulthood, any animal living in the water or coming to the water to drink is potential prey. Most animals captured by American alligators are considerably smaller than itself.

Other animals may occasionally be eaten, even large deer or feral wild boars , but these are not normally part of the diet. American alligators occasionally prey on large mammals, such as deer, but usually do so when fish and smaller prey levels go down.

Such incidents usually involve a panther trying to cross a waterway or coming down to a swamp or river to get a drink. Occasionally, domestic animals, including dogs , cats , and calves , are taken as available, but are secondary to wild and feral prey. Water birds , such as herons and egrets , storks , waterfowl and large dabbling rails such as gallinules or coots , are taken when possible. Occasionally, unwary adult birds are grabbed and eaten by American alligators, but most predation on bird species occurs with unsteady fledgling birds in late summer, as fledgling birds attempt to make their first flights near the water’s edge.

In , American alligators and other crocodilians were reported to also eat fruit. The discovery of this unexpected part of the American alligator diet further reveals that they may be responsible for spreading seeds from the fruit they consume across their habitat.

The diet of adult American alligators from central Florida lakes is dominated by fish, but the species is highly opportunistically based upon local availability. Unusually in these regions, reptiles and amphibians were the most important nonpiscivore prey, mostly turtles and water snakes. In East Texas , diets were diverse and adult American alligators took mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates e. An American alligator is able to abduct and adduct the vocal folds of its larynx , but not to elongate or shorten them; yet in spite of this, it can modulate fundamental frequency very well.

Sounds ranged from 50 to Hz. In one experiment conducted on the larynx, the fundamental frequency depended on both the glottal gap and stiffness of the larynx tissues.

As the frequency increases, there’s high tension and large strains. The fundamental frequency has been influenced by the glottal gap size and subglottal pressure and when the phonation threshold pressure has been exceeded, there will be vocal fold vibration.

Crocodilians are the most vocal of all non-avian reptiles and have a variety of different calls depending on the age, size, and sex of the animal. Juveniles can perform a high-pitched hatchling call a “yelping” trait common to many crocodilian species’ hatchling young [] to alert their mothers when they are ready to emerge from the nest.

Juveniles also make a distress call to alert their mothers if they are being threatened. Adult American alligators can growl, hiss, or cough to threaten others and declare territory. Both males and females bellow loudly by sucking air into their lungs and blowing it out in intermittent, deep-toned roars to attract mates and declare territory.

Bellowing is performed in a “head oblique, tail arched” posture. Infrasonic waves from a bellowing male can cause the surface of the water directly over and to either side of his back to literally “sprinkle”, [] in what is commonly called the “water dance”.

The breeding season begins in the spring. On spring nights, American alligators gather in large numbers for group courtship, in the aforementioned “water dances”. After the female lays her 20 to 50 white eggs, about the size of a goose egg, she covers them with more vegetation, which heats as it decays, helping to keep the eggs warm. This differs from Nile crocodiles, which lay their eggs in pits.

Studies have found that eggs hatched at a temperature below When the young begin to hatch — their “yelping” calls can sometimes even be heard just before hatching commences — the mother quickly digs them out and carries them to the water in her mouth, [25] as some other crocodilian species are known to do. The young are tiny replicas of adults, with a series of yellow bands around their bodies that serve as camouflage.

Young American alligators eat small fish, frogs, crayfish, and insects. Nutria were introduced into coastal marshes from South America in the midth century, and their population has since exploded into the millions.

They cause serious damage to coastal marshes and may dig burrows in levees. Hence, Louisiana has had a bounty to try to reduce nutria numbers.

 
 

 

Where Do American Alligators Live? – North American Nature.Alligator – Wikipedia

 

The American alligator Alligator mississippiensissometimes referred to colloquially as a gator or common alligator where do most american alligators live, is a large crocodilian reptile native to the Southeastern United States. It is one of the two extant species in the genus Alligatorand is larger than the only other living alligator species, the Chinese alligator.

Adult male American alligators where do most american alligators live 3. American alligators are apex predators and consume fish, amphibiansreptiles, birds, and mammals. Hatchlings feed mostly on invertebrates. They play an important role as ecosystem engineers in wetland ecosystems through the creation of alligator holes, which provide both wet and dry habitats for other organisms.

Throughout the year in particular during where do most american alligators live breeding seasonAmerican alligators bellow to declare territory, and locate suitable mates. Eggs are laid in a nest of vegetation, sticks, leaves, and mud in a sheltered spot in or near the water. Young are born with yellow bands around their bodies and are protected by their mother for up to one year. Historically, hunting had decimated their population, and the American alligator was listed as an endangered species by the Endangered Species Act of Subsequent conservation efforts have allowed their numbers to increase and the species was removed from endangered status in The species is the official state reptile of three states: FloridaLouisianaand Mississippi.

InGeorges Cuvier created the where do most american alligators live Alligator ; [13] the American alligator and the Chinese alligator are the only extant species in the genus. They are grouped in the family Alligatoridae with the caimans. The superfamily Alligatoroidea includes all crocodilians fossil and extant that are more closely related to the American alligator than to either the Nile crocodile Crocodylus niloticus or the gharial Gavialis gangeticus.

Members of this superfamily first arose in the late Cretaceousabout —65 million years ago Mya. Where do most american alligators live of Alberta is the earliest known fossil, from the Campanian era 83 to 72 Mya. Fossil alligatoroids have been found throughout Eurasiabecause bridges across both the North Atlantic and the Bering Strait connected North America to Eurasia about 66 to 23 Mya.

Alligators and caimans split in North America during the late Cretaceous, and the caimans reached South America by the Paleogene, before the closure of the Isthmus of Panama during the Neogene period, from about 23 where do most american alligators live 2. The Chinese alligator likely descended from a lineage that crossed the Bering land bridge where do most american alligators live the Neogene. Fossils identical to the existing American alligator are found throughout the Pleistocenefrom 2.

Unlike the other extinct alligator species of the same genus, the fossil skull was virtually indistinguishable from that of the modern American alligator.

This where do most american alligators live and the American alligator are now considered to be sister taxa, meaning where do most american alligators live the A. The alligator’s full mitochondrial genome was sequenced in the s, and it suggests the animal evolved at a rate similar to mammals and greater than birds and most cold-blooded vertebrates. Domestic American alligators range from long and slender to short and robust, possibly where do most american alligators live response to variations in factors such as growth rate, diet, and climate.

The American alligator is a relatively large species of crocodilian. On average, it is the largest species in the family Alligatoridaewith only the black caiman being possibly bigger. Similar to many other reptiles that range expansively into temperate zones, American alligators from the northern end of their range, such as southern ArkansasAlabamaand northern North Carolinatend to reach smaller sizes. Large adult American alligators tend to be relatively robust and bulky compared to other similar-length crocodilians; for example, captive males measuring 3 to 4 m 9 ft 10 in to 13 ft 1 in were found to weigh to kg to lbalthough captive specimens may outweigh wild specimens due to lack of hunting behavior and other stressors.

There is a common belief stated throughout reptilian literature that crocodilians including the American alligator exhibit indeterminate growth, meaning the animal continues to grow for the duration of its life. However, these claims are largely based on assumptions and observations of juvenile and young adult crocodilians. One long-term mark-recapture study done at the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center in South Carolina found evidence to support patterns of determinate growth.

The study allowed for the observation of life histories noting some American alligators can possibly live over the age of seventy. This studies prolong documentation of growth rates, where do most american alligators live with several other growing studies point toward the more newly supported pattern of determinant growth in the American alligator. Large male American alligators reach an expected maximum size up to 4.

During the 19th and 20th centuries, larger males reaching 5 to 6 m 16 ft 5 in to 19 ft 8 in were reported. American alligators do not normally reach such extreme sizes. In mature males, most specimens grow up to about 3. While noticeable in very mature specimens, the sexual dimorphism in size of the American alligator is relatively modest among crocodilians. Dorsally, adult American alligators may be olive, brown, gray, or black.

However, they are on average one of the most darkly colored modern crocodilians although other alligatorid family members are also fairly darkand can be reliably be distinguished by color via their more blackish dorsal scales against crocodiles. These American alligators are extremely rare and almost impossible to find in the wild. They could only survive in captivity, as they are very vulnerable to the sun and predators. American alligators have teeth. When the jaws are closed, the edges of the upper jaws cover the lower teeth, which fit into the jaws’ hollows.

Like the spectacled caimanthis species has a bony nasal ridge, though it is less prominent. An easy characteristic to distinguish the two is the fourth tooth. Whenever an American alligator’s mouth is closed, the fourth tooth is no longer visible.

Where do most american alligators live is enclosed in a pocket in the upper jaw. Adult American alligators held the record as having the strongest laboratory-measured bite of any living animal, measured at up to 13, N 1, This experiment had not been, at the time of the paper published, replicated in any other crocodilians, and the same laboratory was able to measure a greater bite force of 16, N 1, No significant difference is noted between the bite forces of male and female American alligators of equal size.

When on land, an American alligator moves either by sprawling or walking, the latter involving the reptile lifting its belly off the ground. The sprawling of American alligators and other crocodylians is not similar to that of salamanders and lizards, being similar to walking. Therefore, the two forms of land locomotion can be termed the “low walk” and the “high walk”. Unlike most other land vertebrates, American alligators increase their speed through the distal rather than proximal ends of their limbs.

American alligators, being native both to the Nearctic and Neotropical realmsare found in the wild in where do most american alligators live Southeastern United Statesfrom the Lowcountry in South Carolinasouth to Everglades National Park in Florida, and west to the southeastern region /18183.txt Texas.

Some of these locations where do most american alligators live to be relatively recent introductions, with often small but reproductive populations. In the future, possible American alligator populations may be found in areas of Mexico adjacent to the Texas border.

American alligators are currently listed as least concern by the IUCN Red Listeven though from the s to the mids, they were being hunted and poached by humans unsustainably. Inthe U. Fish and Wildlife Service pronounced the American alligator fully recovered. Historically, hunting and habitat loss have severely affected American alligator populations throughout their range, and whether the where do most american alligators live would survive was in doubt.

Inthe American alligator was listed as an endangered species where do most american alligators live a law that was the precursor Endangered Species Act ofsince it was believed to be in danger of extinction where do most american alligators live all or a significant portion of its range. Protection under the Endangered Species Act allowed the species to recuperate in many areas where it had been depleted.

States began monitoring their American alligator populations to ensure that they would continue to grow. Inthe USFWS removed the animal from the endangered species list, as it was considered to be fully recovered. The USFWS still regulates the legal trade in American alligators and their products to protect still endangered crocodilians that may be passed off as American alligators during trafficking.

They inhabit swamps, streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes. A lone American alligator was spotted for over 10 years living in a river north of Atlanta, Georgia. While they prefer fresh water, American alligators may sometimes wander into brackish water, [66] but are less tolerant of salt water than American crocodiles, as the salt glands on their tongues do not function.

During summer, males still preferred open water, while females remained in the swamps to construct their nests and lay their eggs. Both sexes приведенная ссылка den underneath banks or clumps of trees during the winter. In some areas of their range, American alligators are an unusual example of urban wildlife ; golf courses are often favoured by the species due to an abundance of water and a frequent supply of prey animals such as where do most american alligators live and birds.

American alligators are less vulnerable to cold than American crocodiles. American alligators primarily bask on shore, but also climb into and perch on tree limbs to bask if no shoreline is available. This is not often seen, since if disturbed, they quickly where do most american alligators live back into the water by jumping from their perch. American alligators modify wetland habitats, most dramatically in flat areas such as the Everglades, by constructing small ponds known as alligator holes.

This behavior has qualified the American alligator to be considered a keystone species. Alligator holes retain water during the dry season and provide a refuge for aquatic organisms, which survive the dry season by seeking refuge in alligator holes, so are a source of future populations. Where do most american alligators live construction of nests along the periphery of alligator holes, as well as a buildup of soils during the excavation process, provides drier areas for other reptiles to nest and a place for plants that are intolerant of inundation to colonize.

Alligator holes are an oasis during the Everglades dry season, so are consequently important foraging sites for other organisms. The teeth of the American alligator are designed to grip prey, but cannot rip or chew flesh like teeth of some other predators such as canids and felidsand depend on their gizzardinstead, to masticate their food.

The American alligator is capable of biting through a turtle’s shell or a moderately sized mammal bone. American alligators have been documented using lures to hunt prey such as birds. By balancing sticks and branches on their heads, American alligators are able to lure birds looking for suitable nesting material to kill посмотреть еще consume. This strategy, which is shared by the mugger crocodileis particularly effective during the nesting season, in which birds are more likely to gather appropriate nesting materials.

Fish and other aquatic prey taken in the water or at the water’s edge form the major part of American alligator’s diet and may be eaten at any time of the day or night. Adult American alligators also spend considerable time hunting on land, up to feet 50 m from water, ambushing terrestrial animals on trailsides and road shoulders. Usually, terrestrial hunting occurs on nights with warm temperatures. Additionally, American alligators have recently been filmed and documented killing and eating sharks and rays; four incidents documented indicated that bonnetheadslemon sharksAtlantic stingraysand nurse sharks are components of the animal’s diet.

Sharks are also known to prey on American alligators, in turn, indicating that encounters between the two predators are common.

American alligators are considered an apex predator throughout their range. They are opportunists and their diet is determined largely by both their size and age and the size and availability of prey. Most American alligators eat a wide variety of animals, including invertebratesfishbirdsturtlessnakesamphibiansand mammals. Hatchlings mostly feed on invertebrates such as insects, insect larvaesnailsspidersand worms. As they grow, American alligators gradually expand to larger prey.

Once an American alligator reaches full size and power in adulthood, any animal living in the water or coming to the water to drink is potential prey. Most animals captured by American alligators are considerably smaller than itself.