The American alligator, known to scientists as Alligator mississippiensis, is at the top of the food chain. Called an apex predator, American alligator adults feed on virtually every other creature that shares their habitat, but they fear nothing except for humans and larger alligators. However, its young are not so safe, and many baby alligators are consumed by a variety of aquatic predators.Know More
Fish and turtles are the most important prey for most alligators, but they are not fussy eaters. Other common prey species include snakes, frogs, toads, salamanders, birds, lizards, beavers, raccoons, nutria, rats, crustaceans, mollusks, insects and smaller alligators. Young alligators feed on smaller prey, including insects, frogs and fish. Alligators of all ages adapt to local food sources, but they are strictly carnivorous and do not eat vegetation.
Wading birds, snakes, large fish, turtles, raccoons, foxes and larger alligators hunt young alligators. As they grow, young alligators add more and larger prey to their list of acceptable food. Concurrently, alligators fear fewer predators as they grow.
Alligators are an important part of freshwater ecosystems as they help to maintain balance among the populations of small animals. Additionally, turtles and some other animals deposit their eggs in alligator nests.Learn more about Alligators
Alligators can stay underwater for up to 24 hours if they need to, although most only stay submerged for 20 to 30 minutes. The alligator's body is specially developed to stay beneath the water if the circumstances call for it.Full Answer >
Alligators are not mammals, they are reptiles. Alligators do not have hair or fur like mammals, but are instead covered in scales, nor do they nurse their young with milk. Additionally alligators are cold-blooded, rather than warm-blooded like mammals.Full Answer >
An alligator can run at a speed of 11 miles per hour for short distances. In water, alligators can swim at a speed of about 20 miles per hour.Full Answer >
Of the many giant crocodiles and alligators that lived in prehistoric times, the largest may have been Sarcosuchus, a distant relative of the modern crocodile that lived 112 million years ago. While a complete skeleton does not exist, estimates based on intact Sarcosuchus skulls suggest that individuals may have grown as long as 36 to 39 feet in total length and weighed as much as 18,000 pounds.Full Answer >