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- There are an estimated 4 million alligators in the United States. They are heavily concentrated in the Southeast where swamps, rivers, and lakes abound.
- Alligators are opportunistic predators, feeding on fish, amphibians, small mammals, and even snakes.
- Watch a video where an alligator has its eye on an unsuspecting water snake, then suddenly makes its move, ready for an easy lunch.
If you’ve ever been in the southern United States, perhaps you’ve seen an alligator. These remarkable reptiles are known for their super-powerful jaws and ability to thrive in a variety of freshwater habitats. Anywhere there’s water within its range, there’s a likelihood a few alligators are around!
The ever-numerous alligator is an opportunistic feeder with a diet that includes fish, amphibians, and even snakes – yes, you read that right! These formidable predators are not fazed in the slightest by much, snakes included. As we can see in the video below, gators just see them as a quick snack.
Aside from being a continuing American legend, these armored swimmers are as smart as they are intimidating. That said, let’s discover more about the sometimes troublesome, always iconic alligator.
How Many Alligators Are in the Wild?
Ever been in Louisiana or Florida and thought a log winked? It might not be your imagination – it’s possible you just had a close encounter with an American alligator. These toothy residents are quite the literal crowd, with their population estimated to be over 4 million. In some areas, there might be too many, according to wildlife conservation experts! Alligators shouldn’t be a direct threat to humans, so long as they aren’t bothered or fed. Above all, the more we respect their space, the more reason they’ll have to return the favor.
Believe it or not, there was once a time when the American alligator was considered endangered. They were victims of habitat loss and poorly regulated hunting not so long ago. However, this grim situation was turned around through incisive conservation, and they are now seen as a species of least concern as of 2018 and beyond.
Could an Alligator Climb a Tree?
Say what? While many people might not correlate alligators with climbing trees, they have actually been known to do so. Younger gators are usually the ones spotted trying out this uncommon acrobatic feat, as older ones are simply too big. Although we don’t quite know the reason behind it, daring individuals who are capable of exploring trees are thought to be cooling off. How’s that for natural ingenuity?
Despite looking tough and slow, there are quite a lot of interesting ways gators can move about. Their talented and muscular bodies can pull off far more than meets the eye, including waterborne leaps. That’s more than impressive for a species that grows up to weigh around 800 pounds!
Is It Normal for Alligators to Feed on Snakes?
Alligators are carnivores whose main diet consists of frogs, turtles, fish, birds, and small to medium mammals, including rodents, nutria, raccoons, or even pigs or deer if they stumble on one. They are opportunistic in their choices, meaning, that if it moves and breathes, a crocodile is capable of eating it. So yes, it is normal for alligators to eat snakes.
However, alligators don’t prefer snakes. They eat them on occasion, but snakes don’t make up the majority of their diet. Alligators have shown some resistance to venom, and have been witnessed eating copperheads, rattlesnakes, and cottonmouths. Of the animals listed as predators of snakes, the alligator is not high on the list. Snakes would be more threatened by wolverines, bobcats, mongooses, kingsnakes, honey badgers, owls, and other birds of prey.
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