What do alligators eat?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “What do alligators eat?” and provide information on what Chinese alligators consume, what hatchlings consume, how alligators hunt, whether they need to eat often as well as whether alligators eat humans.

What do alligators eat?

Alligators eat animals and insects. American alligators have a wild variety of meals including frogs, snakes, turtles, and horseshoe crabs. Nutria meat, raccoons, beavers, pigs, and deer can be consumed by them.

Apart from this, they also consume fish meat. Some of the fish meat that they consume would include sting rays, small sharks, and smaller fish too. Alligators in Florida on the other hand consume panthers, black bears, and watchdogs too.

What do Chinese alligators consume?

Chinese alligators would actively look for food as well. They are basically opportunistic in nature and consume whatever comes their way. They would consume whatever they find in the water. Their sharp teeth and crushing force can help in killing the prey instantly. 

Some of the commonly consumed Chinese alligators would include mussels, worms, snakes, clams, fish, small mammals, carcasses, and fruits. Ducks in water can be consumed by them too. Rodents like rats can be eaten too.

What do hatchlings consume?

Hatchlings would generally consume small insects, small fish, frogs, and crawfish. However, hatchlings are not very safe as they are likely to be consumed by fishes, mammals, birds, and other reptiles including snakes.

Once hatchlings become 4 feet, they are safe and would not be attacked. 

How do alligators hunt?

Alligators lurk in the water and pounce on the prey when the opportunity is available. Alligators also have an exceptional biting force. Alligators can also break the shells of turtles or any other mammals.

The eyes and nostrils of the alligators would remain above the water during the lurking period. Once the opportunity arises, they charge with an incredible speed and capture the prey.

Once the prey is captured, they would drag the prey underwater. Alligators would often attack prey that is closer to them making them opportunistic in nature.

Alligators have a 7 feet long tail which can also help them in hunting their prey. The tail helps them to jump and attack their prey to kill them.

The eyes of the alligators can be a great tool for hunting too. The inner eyelids of the alligators can protect their vision underwater.

Alligators can also stay underwater for a long time if they wish to hide. The flaps present in both nostrils and eyes can protect them and prevent excess water from entering their throat.

Alligators also have skin sensors present. These sensors can detect any vibrations around them which gives them an indicator of the prey.

If the prey is too big and the alligators cannot consume the prey, they might consume a little bit of them and then store them under a tree root.

The prey would become softer once it is stored under the tree root. The alligator would then start to consume them. All the muscles and bones of the prey are digested when the alligator consumes the prey. 

Do alligators need to eat often?

Alligators do not need to eat often. They might capture bigger prey which can be enough to eat for a week. During the brumation period, they would not eat often.

Alligators store their fats in their tails. The fats stored in the tails are enough for them to live for two years. The fat is burned and energy is obtained. Once a week would be enough for hunting.

Do alligators eat humans?

Alligators do not attack humans unless they are provoked. Usually, alligators would go away after looking at the humans. They would attack the humans to protect themselves.

Alligators usually do not attack humans unless they are provoked. There are instances of alligators attacking humans. Children particularly can be attacked if they wander around the water shore as they are smaller in size.

Alligators would consume dead bodies of humans too if they have an opportunity. This is because as mentioned before, alligators are opportunistic in nature.

There can be a few reasons for alligators to attack humans. Alligators can attack humans if a human provokes them or if they are trying to protect their nest. 

Apart from this, aggressiveness (while searching for a mate) can cause them to attack too. Food scarcity can also cause them to attack. In case the human is too close to the shore, they would find it an opportunity to attack too.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “What do alligators eat?” and provided information on what Chinese alligators consume, what hatchlings consume, how alligators hunt, whether they need to eat often as well as whether alligators eat humans.


Leave a Comment