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What attracts alligators and crocodiles?

What attracts alligators and crocodiles

Alligators and crocodiles get attracted to prey. The one thing that gets the attention of crocodilians is movement. Although these animals may seem stupid, they are actually smart.

Crocodiles and alligators do not eat all the time. However, they are on the prowl for an easy meal. When things move, they know if it is a log or if it is something they can eat.

Are crocodiles and alligators attracted to bait?

New Guinea Crocodile (Crocodylus novaeguineae)
New Guinea Crocodile (Crocodylus novaeguineae)

Yes, crocodiles and alligators are attracted to baits. When hunters look for crocs, they use bait to lure these animals.

One famous show about alligator hunting is Swamp People on the History Channel. In it, gator hunters hang meat from trees. These baits have big hooks that can snag alligators.

Once the gator bites, it cannot move away. The hunter pulls out the rope with the gator snagged in it, and the other hunter shoots at the alligator’s head.

In Florida, many people make a living by offering airboat alligator rides. Tourists get to ride an airboat and tour the Everglades to see alligators in the wild.

Some people hang bait from poles to attract crocodiles. For example, there was this guy called Trevor Frost from National Geographic who filmed a croc jumping vertically out of the water.

The people in that boat dangled a piece of meat, which attracted the crocodile. Before long, the crocodile propelled itself upward to snag the meat but failed.

Related Article: Are Alligators Bulletproof?

What are alligators and crocodiles afraid of?

Brown and tan alligator
Brown and tan alligator

Crocodiles are afraid of hippos. They would not dare cross a hippopotamus, knowing that these animals are stronger and bigger than them.

Alligators, on the other hand, are afraid of humans. Sub-species of alligators, like the caiman, are afraid of the jaguar.

In Africa, crocodiles attempt to live peacefully with hippos. However, they sometimes attack a baby hippo, knowing that it is defenseless against them. Sometimes, some crocodiles make the mistake of going into a pool of hippos.

And when this happens, the crocodile is in deep trouble. There is this video where 30 plus hippos attacked a croc that wandered into their territory. It luckily survived.

In the Amazon Rainforest, jaguars actively hunt caimans. In the Pantanal River, it is not an unusual sight to see a jaguar jump into the river to capture a caiman. Unlike other big cats, jaguars are not afraid of the water.

Jaguars are excellent swimmers. With jaguars’ strength and powerful jaws, they can deliver a skull-crushing blow to a caiman’s head. Jaguars are so powerful that they can bite a caiman and lift it off the water as they move up the riverbank.

In the Amazon, the jaguar is the predator of all predators. Despite this, it is not invulnerable. Big caimans can take on jaguars. Anacondas also prey on these big cats.

By far, the biggest threat to the jaguar is humans. Humans have hunted down jaguars to near-extinction for their fur.  

The jaguar is not fully protected in most of its range. There are hunting restrictions in place. It is illegal to hunt jaguars, and governments are involved in ensuring that they have adequate prey.

Related Article: Are alligators herbivores, carnivores or omnivores?

How doesone scare an alligator or crocodile away?

Crocodile on land
Crocodile on land

One cannot scare an alligator or crocodile away, except if the person has a gun. One shot, even if not fatal, can make the croc swim far from a human.

The Savannah River Ecology Laboratory from the University of Georgia has several pieces of advice to stay safe.

  • Do not feed gators – people are advised never to feed gators. It may seem a lovely experience, but it will only make gators associate food with humans. After a while, these gators will no longer fear humans and are likely to become aggressive. 
  • Keep distance – the ideal distance between a human and a gator is 30 feet. Crocs and gators are fast animals, and they have powerful reflexes. They also run fast on land, and an unsuspecting human can be a victim in a snap of a finger.
  • Leave gators alone – when people see crocs or gators on the road, they must not attempt to move the animal. Instead, they must wait until the animal has crossed.
  • Do not disturb gator nests – despite many videos on YouTube showing gator nest hunting, people should not emulate this behavior. Most of the people who do this are professionals, and it is their job to hunt for eggs, which means they know what they are doing.

Lastly, people should not keep crocs and gators as pets. While many people out there have their pet crocs and gators at home, most of these received a license from their respective states. It means that they are qualified to keep these dangerous animals.

Related Article: Are Alligators Smart?

What time of day are alligators and crocodiles most active?

American Alligator

Crocodiles and alligators are nocturnal animals. They are most active from dawn to dusk. However, it does not mean that they do not hunt in the daytime.

Both crocs and gators do not sleep deep. As such, they easily hear sounds, wake up, and act accordingly. If they are old, they typically bask under the sun and also get some sleep. It is why they seem lethargic during the daytime.

Even if they are nocturnal, they will hunt prey that comes around. Crocodiles and alligators are opportunistic hunters. They will come close to humans who swim, and it does not really matter if it is day or night.

So, when do crocodiles and alligators attack humans? Crocodiles, especially the saltwater and Nile crocs, are man-eaters. They actively seek human prey in their territories.

Alligators, on the other hand, will only attack humans for food if the human is small and frail. Otherwise, they will only attack if they are provoked.

Related Article: Are Crocodiles and Alligators Related

Summary: what attracts alligators and crocodiles?

Crocodiles and alligators are attracted to prey, including bait. In the water, they would go near anything that was thrashing. To them, a thrashing move in the water means something or someone is struggling. Both crocodiles and alligators are not supreme predators. In the wild, crocodiles are scared of hippos. Alligators, on the other hand, are afraid of humans. In the Amazon, the jaguar preys on caimans.

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