Alligators are called the apex predators of the wild, but they will devour from any other available sources when they see an opportunity. Alligators also eat fruits from trees.
Alligators’ food habit depends on three basic factors. Their age, size and the size of their prey and also where they live. They usually feed on snakes, turtles, mammals, birds, and fish. Let’s get to know more about their food habitation.
Do alligators eat ducks & birds?
Alligators eat ducks and birds. Ducks and birds are not challenging to them because of the size advantage, and are easily accessible as ducks and few birds are aquatic animals. Even as pets, the owners feed their alligators chickens, ducks, turtles, and easily accessible birds.
Water is the territory of the alligators. Though alligators have large bodies and low metabolism, in the water they are unchallenged. They depend on their sensory organs.
Alligators eat mostly onshore residents like ducks or birds, snakes, and turtles. Any other creature that comes to the water or near their surface. Birds like Storks, Herons, Egrets, and Waterfowl (duck) are eaten by Alligators.
American Alligators prey on mammals like Muskrats and raccoons. Alligators will consume preys that are smaller in size than them. However, if they see an opportunity, they will attack larger animals.
Alligators also eat domesticated animals like dogs, goats, and calves when they see an opportunity.
Usually, they avoid humans but there have been reports of humans killed and eaten by alligators. They only attack humans if they are threatened by their presence or provoked.
The size differs the food habit of alligators. Young alligators eat ducks, birds, snakes, turtles. Apart from ducks and birds, mature alligators eat deer, razorbacks, bears, and panthers
Ducks dwell on land as well as water. It is easier for the Alligators to hunt ducks.
Ducks are smaller in size, and alligators are a minimum of five times bigger than ducks. So this gives alligators the advantage to hunt ducks.
Wild ducks spend a huge amount of time for food and bath in the water. They stroll with their babies. So an alligators takes the advantage of this opportunity and hunt for food.
On November 29 an American Alligator which was ten (10) feet long, devoured a duck at the Florida Lake. It was shared 9100 times on social media.
Waterbirds are one of the main food sources for alligators. As they habitat near the water, it is easier for the alligators to hunt them.
They usually hunt Herons, Pelicans, Flamingos, and many other water-dwelling birds.
Apart from water birds, regular birds are also a part of the food chain of the Alligators. Other than water birds, alligator feeds on hawks, eagles, who comes to water for fish and snakes.
Do alligators eat baby ducks?
Alligators eat every living thing. Chinese alligators are smaller in size than American alligators. Most Chinese alligators eat baby ducks.
There have been sightings of alligators eating baby ducks. Hunters use baby ducks and adult ducks to lure the alligators and catch them.
Do alligators eat duck eggs?
Alligators do not eat duck eggs. Because the eggs are smaller in size and their jaws are not suitable to eat the eggs. The alligators can’t gather the duck eggs from the ground with their jaws the way it is shaped.
Duck eggs will not fulfill their hunger as it is too small. Bigger preys have so much more meat in them. So alligators avoid eggs and hunt bigger prey.
Why do crocodiles eat ducks?
Crocodiles are species of carnivores. The food chain consists of meat. Duck is easily found in lakes and rivers. Ducks are an easy source of meat for the crocodiles to survive.
Ducks are aquatic animals. It is easier for crocodiles to get the source of their food from the ducks.
Easy to hunt:
Ducks are smaller in size. This gives the crocodiles the advantage to eat them easily. A single bite of an alligator will kill a duck.
Do alligators eat baby birds?
Alligators eat baby birds. It is the easiest way to get food without any fight. Alligators reside under the nests and wait for an opportunity to eat baby birds.
Wading birds use alligators as their bodyguard. Usually, the alligators do not eat baby birds.
However, Alligators help to protect the nests of the wading birds to protect them from other predators. For this service, the alligators demand a heavy toll from the wading birds.
Birds like storks, ibises, herons, and egrets usually protect the nests and sacrifice some of the baby birds to the alligators. This phenomenon takes place in the Everglades. Other hunting animals are harmful to the wading baby birds.
Why do crocodiles not eat plover birds?
Crocodiles usually eat every bird which is easily accessible. But, crocodiles do not eat Egyptian- plover birds. This represents a symbiotic relationship between the plover birds and crocodiles.
Benefit for Crocodile:
Crocodiles are not eligible to use dental floss. Foods stuck in their teeth. The food gets rotten and they have to suffer from pain and infection.
When crocodiles want to clean their teeth, they will open their mouth wide open. Egyptian- Plover birds see this as an opportunity to gather food. They fly to the mouth and sit on the teeth and start to clean as much as possible.
Benefit for Plover bird:
Though it looks scary to humans to see a bird is inside a crocodile’s mouth, it is not scary at all.
Plover bird eats the food from between the teeth of crocodiles. Apart from helping the crocodiles from teeth, by cleaning the teeth but also creating a food source for itself.
What kind of birds do alligators eat?
The relationship between birds and alligators is ecological facilitation. It benefits one and does not harm the other. Alligators live near the bird colonies for easy food.
The easiest food for the alligators is dead birds. As they live near the colony of birds, one or two chicks die. They get drifted away and alligators see this as an opportunity for free food.
If an alligator is hungry it will devour anything. Any living bird that comes close to the alligators, will be eaten. Because it is easier for the alligator to hunt the birds as it is smaller in size.
Alligators have 2000 PSI jaw power. They can crush the bones and shells of turtles. It can digest bones, meats anything it swallows.
Water Birds like storks, waterfowl, herons, and egrets. These birds live or dwell near the water, so alligators can hunt and eat them easily.
If an alligator sees an opportunity they will eat hawks as well. Hawks usually hunt fish from rivers. It gives chances to the alligators to hunt the hawks.
Eagles also hunt from the river. Fish are their big source of food. If the eagle dives into the water to hunt and the alligators see an opportunity, then the alligators will eat the eagles.
How do alligators hunt underwater?
Alligators are most successful when hunting underwater. They have sensors that detect vibration and hunt for their prey. Though they are huge, they can move swiftly underwater and kill any animal.
Alligators usually wait for their prey by the water shore. If anything comes near them, they will bite the prey and drag them underwater. But they also hunt underwater animals like fish, turtles, and snakes.
Alligators have ultra-sensitive sensors. They can detect the slightest vibration underwater. It helps them to hunt and as well as avoid danger.
Alligators have two layers of eyelids. When the alligators stay underwater, the second layer of the eyelid protects their eyes and helps to give them clear vision underwater.
A palatal valve is also a feature that prevents alligators from keeping the water from entering their throat. Alligators have water-tight bodies. An alligator can stay underwater for two hours.
Alligators need to come out of the water to swallow the food. Otherwise, their lungs and stomach will be filled with water. Drowning is a method used by alligators not to alert other predators.
Birds and ducks are the easiest animals to hunt for the alligators, as they live by the water. The size advantage for the alligators has always played a key role. They do not possess any challenge to the alligators. So, ducks and birds are the legit food for the alligators.