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Why Are Alligators and Crocodiles So Aggressive?

Why Are Alligators and Crocodiles So Aggressive
Alligator colony in a swamp

Crocodiles and alligators are aggressive because they are territorial. They seem to be aware of their power, giving them the “right” to fight for their territory.

It is widely believed that crocodiles are more aggressive than alligators. However, this does not mean that the gators are harmless. They will attack humans if they have the opportunity to do so.

Are crocodiles or alligators more aggressive?

Large crocodile
Large crocodile

Crocodiles are more aggressive than alligators. Crocodiles attack prey and even humans more often than alligators.

Alligators are somewhat docile, at least most of the time. Alligators tend to attack humans only when extremely hungry or when threatened. Crocodiles, on the other hand, attack just because someone is near them.

One more thing that makes crocodiles dangerous is that they like lurking underwater. Alligators, on the other hand, bask in open banks under the sun. It is why they are easier spotted than crocodiles.

Although crocodiles are more aggressive than alligators, one should not take any risk going near them. Alligators will still attack humans. They are opportunistic hunters that will kill prey if they think they have the likelihood to succeed.

Related Article: Do alligators eat turtles?

Are alligators afraid of humans?

Alligator eating meat
Alligator eating meat

Yes, alligators are afraid of humans. For many years, humans have been hunting alligators. As such, the gators know that humans are dangerous. In the US, there is a gator hunting season, which the government controls to help balance the number of alligators in the ecosystem.

Although alligators are afraid of humans, they are still dangerous. Gators will not hesitate to attack if humans poke them. Some gators will also take it upon themselves to ward off humans close to their nests.

This fear is advantageous for humans. Because of this, humans have little to worry about gators encroaching on human territory. It is why experts and authorities tell humans to stay away from gators. It is also generally advised to avoid feeding gators.

If humans feed gators, the animals will associate food with human beings. If this happens, they will not be afraid of coming towards humans.

Related Article: Do Alligators Live in Lakes?

Why do alligators and crocodiles attack humans?

Saltwater Crocodile

The main reason why crocodilians attack humans is a threat. If these animals feel threatened, they will protect themselves and their territories.

Here are the most common reasons crocodiles and alligators attack humans:

  • Food – crocodilians hunt humans if they are hungry
  • Territory – crocodilians want to protect their territory for food and dominance
  • Protection of eggs/young – female crocs that have nests or hatchlings will protect their offspring
  • Defense – crocodilians that feel threatened will defend themselves

Crocodiles and alligators are hunters. While they may not want to attack humans at times, they have the power to do it. Between the two, the crocodile is much more active in attacking humans. The Nile and Saltwater crocodile, among all species, are the most dangerous.

Related Article: Why Do Crocodiles Open Their Mouths?

Are crocodiles and alligators friendly?

Chinese Alligator
Chinese Alligator

No, they are not friendly, and they cannot be domesticated. While crocodiles can be social, they do not have the same brain development as other animals.

Crocodiles and alligators are smart. Some of them use tools for hunting. However, they are far from really being as docile as other animals like birds, dogs, and domestic cats. 

Are crocodiles and alligators good pets?

Crocodile running on grass
Crocodile running on grass

No, crocodiles and alligators are not good pets. There are many people who keep gators and crocs in their homes. And when they show these animals on their YouTube channels, they make it seem like these animals are docile.

Alligators and crocodiles are dangerous animals. They may seem cute when they are young. As they get older, they become more and more vicious. A misstep can cause a person a limb. Or worse, his life.

People who keep alligators and crocodiles are professionals. Most of these people have a background in herpetology, and they know how to handle these animals.

However, there are those who have a bad belief that they have a “spiritual connection” with the crocodile. Some even say that they have an alligator as an emotional support system. There is nothing more dangerous than this—alligators do not distinguish owners from prey.

Which crocodiles and alligators are the most dangerous?

American Alligator

There are 24 recognized species of extantcrocodilians. These 24 include caimans, gators, the true crocs, and the gharials. Out of these 24, seven are dangerous to humans.

Black Caiman – this alligator sub-species lives in the north part of South America. It can grow as long as 13 feet, and it has a wide range of diets. It eats rodents and attacks people. The Black Caiman is aggressive, but few attacks are fatal.

Mugger Crocodile – this croc is a freshwater species, and it lives in Southeast Asia. It has a wide and flat snout, and it can grow up to 16 feet. They eat mostly fish and reptiles. They attack humans at will, and about a third of the attacks between 2008 and 2013 are fatal.

American Crocodile – this croc lives in Florida, Mexico, and Central America. It lives in estuaries and can grow up to 16.5 feet. There are 90 reports of attacks, and 20 of these attacks resulted in death.

Gharial – also known as the gavial, this crocodile lives in India and Nepal. It has sharp teeth, and it can grow up to 15 feet. They feed on corpses in funeral ceremonies, which means they will attack humans if they see one.

American Alligator – the most common alligator in the world, the American Alligator is not as dangerous as the other crocodilians. However, they will not hesitate to come after a human being if threatened. They also attack small humans and the elderly.

Saltwater Crocodile – one of the most dangerous crocs, it is also the largest of all living species. It can grow up to 20 feet, and they will attack humans if they see one. Saltwater crocs do not attack humans to defend themselves but to eat.

Nile Crocodile – the most dangerous of all crocodilians, they can also grow up to 20 feet. They are responsible for more than 300 human attacks every year.

Summary

Crocodiles and alligators are aggressive and will attack anything that moves. Of the two, crocodiles are more dangerous than alligators. Crocodiles and alligators are aggressive because of food, territory, threat, and protection of their young. They are not good pets, as opposed to what many crocs and gator enthusiasts may say. In the wild, the best action to take is to stay away from them.

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