What Eats Alligators? (Birds, Cats, and Even Humans!)

There are no known predators of adult alligators in the USA and China except humans, however, juvenile gators and eggs have many predators including fish, other alligators, birds, snakes, and raccoons.

Alligators are brutal predators, but they hatch so small—less than one foot. As such, they are vulnerable to other large animals.

While they stay with their mother for a year or more, some stray away and get preyed upon. Others that grow are also subject to predation by their own kind.

What Eats Alligators

What Animals eat Alligators?

Alligators have many predators in the wild. Although the adults are fairly safe, juvenile alligators are preyed upon by bobcats, raccoons, herons, raptors, human beings, other alligators, and fish.

Baby gators are highly vulnerable. It is why the survival rate of a clutch of gator eggs is so low. For an average clutch of 38 eggs, about 24 hatchlings will make it. Of these 24, only eight will make it to adolescence. The rest die from predation.

Of the eight, only six will reach maturity. The other two will also die of predation from other alligators or be killed by humans. This estimate is only for areas with no huge population of alligators. If there are more alligators, the survival rate is lower. 

1. Bobcats

Sometimes called wildcat, bobcats are small felines around twice as large as the average house cat.

Its tail appears to be cut or “bobbed.” They are fierce predators that hunt many animals. As carnivores, the bobcat eats rabbits, squirrels, and even young alligators. 

2. Raccoons

Raccoons are extremely intelligent and adaptable mammals. They look like they are wearing a bandit mask, and they have long fingers that help them snatch their prey.

Raccoons prey on alligator eggs, but they do not eat juveniles. 

3. Human Beings

Human beings hunt adult alligators, either to cull them from an area where they are causing problems, or in some cases to eat them.

Although in the wild a human could never outrun an alligator, in reality humans use harpoons and nets to hunt alligators.

Alligator flesh is said to taste similar to chicken and doesn’t have a strong taste.

Related Article: Does Humans Eat Lobster?

4. Herons

Herons and other long-legged birds often eat fish, small amphibians, and small reptiles.

While a heron is no match for an adult alligator, herons can eat juvenile alligators just as they would a frog or small lizard.

5. Raptors

Raptors including hawks, eagles, and falcons are mighty predators. They have excellent eyesight and prey on small reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and even other birds.

6. Other Alligators

Alligators and other crocodilians have been known to exhibit cannibalistic behaviors. It’s thought that they do this to reduce the competition for food.

7. Fish

Large fish may prey on juvenile gators if they are swimming without their mothers.

In the US, the Mississippi river is the main home of Alligators and is home to several large fish species including the Gulf Sturgeon, Bighead Carp, and White Bass, all of which can reach several feet in length.

What are Alligators Afraid of?

Alligators are afraid of humans. Experts say that the alligator’s fear of humans is natural. They do not typically approach human beings in the wild. 

When alligators encounter humans, they usually retreat. Although there are reports of alligators attacking humans, these incidents are rare. 

Alligator attacks happen when a human encroaches on its environment. Mothers that protect their young or their nest are also vicious attackers. 

What Eats Alligators in Florida?

Many animals eat alligators in Florida, but the gator victims are always small. Once, a wildlife photographer captured a bird eating a small gator in a lake northwest of Orlando. The bird was an adult blue heron, and it flew after capturing the baby gator. 

The Florida Everglades is a huge sanctuary. There are so many species of birds, amphibians, and mammals here. The ones that eat the gators are: 

  • Mammals like raccoons
  • Snakes like pythons
  • The American crocodile
  • Eagles and other big birds

Again, adult alligators are preyed upon by either humans or other adult alligators. It is always the small alligators that end up as lunch for the other animals

Read More: What Do Alligators In Florida Eat?

Are Alligators Cannibals? 

Many crocodilian species, including alligators, are cannibals. They eat each other, but this is not part of day-to-day life. Alligators eat each other to reduce the competition for food. They also do this if they are looking for a mate. 

Most of the perpetrators are adults, and the victims are juveniles. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes, even mature alligators can become a victim of cannibalism. On some occasions, it is the mother that eats the babies.

Mother alligators sometimes do because there is not enough food or water in the environment. If the mother can no longer care for the young, she would also eat them. 

Summary: What Eats Alligators?

The alligator may be an apex predator. However, it starts its life as a small critter. Because of its size, a juvenile is easy prey. 

Adult alligators have three main predators—humans, alligators, and jaguars. In the wild, only the jaguar actively hunts medium-sized alligators like the caimans. 

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