- American alligators are solitary predators who usually eat fish, birds and small mammals.
- Cottonmouths are a native species of North America where they like to live in and near water.
- Recent research has suggested that alligators have some immunity to the venom of pit viper snakes. This may be why they seem to be able to attack and eat this kind of snake with no ill effects.
This clip released by a Florida wildlife channel captures an epic battle between two fierce animals. Both are deadly in their own way but in this particular encounter, the alligator is victorious and secures a snake snack. Scroll down to watch the full video of this sneak attack.
Where And How Do Cottonmouths Live?
It is likely that this footage was recorded in Florida. Cottonmouths (Agkistrodon piscivorus) are a native species of North America where they like to live in and near water. You will sometimes see them referred to as a water moccasin. They are a highly venomous pit viper and a carnivore that can grow up to about four feet in length.
As a semi-aquatic snake, you may see them swimming in freshwater or saltwater areas. It is the Florida cottonmouth that we probably see here although other Northern cottonmouths are also seen in Florida. You are most likely to find them basking near logs, rocks, and branches close to water.
These snakes are heavy-bodied and they have light and dark brown crossbands containing many dark spots and speckles. They are found in every county of Florida and are a threat to the safety of humans and pets.
What Do American Alligators Normally Eat?
This American alligator may have secured itself a snake for lunch but what do these guys usually eat? They are solitary predators who usually eat fish, birds and small mammals. Larger ones can hunt deer and even black bears! However, they are opportunistic hunters and will not turn down the chance to grab a snake if it arises.
Here, the alligator uses classic ambush tactics and lunges at the unsuspecting snake. However, the snake is not going to give up without a fight and the water is thrashed to a foam by the fight!
Recent research has suggested that alligators have some immunity to the venom of pit viper snakes. This may be why they seem to be able to attack and eat this kind of snake with no ill effects. Scientists found that alligator blood inhibits the destructive action of snake venom metalloproteinases (SVMP) which make up 20 percent of the venom in pit vipers like the cottonmouth. Further research should reveal what other protection this ancient species has developed to help it secure such deadly prey!
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