Alligators are feasting on SHARKS: Scientists baffled by shock new discovery

Joann Johnston
October 18, 2017

This is the first scientific documentation of a widespread interaction between the two predators.

Dr James Nifong of Kansas State University said, 'Alligators are opportunistic.

Despite a preference for eating fresh-water inhabitants, such as fish, crustaceans and snails, a recently released study had found that American alligators sometimes treat themselves to salt-water prey, like sea turtles, sharks and rays, along the Atlantic coast of Georgia and Florida, and near Florida's Gulf Coast. But there is some old study which depicted that large sharks also used to eat smaller alligators.

Nifong and his colleagues spent almost 10 years studying alligators along the Florida and Georgia coasts, typically using lamps at night to view their nocturnal hunting activities. The findings were based on 10 years of study of alligators along the Florida and Georgia coasts, and involved catching more than 500 alligators and pumping their stomachs.

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U.S. researchers have documented instances of alligators preying upon small sharks along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. That includes nurse sharks and stingrays. They also fitted Global Positioning System transmitters in some alligators to examine their movements.

Despite the freshwater and saltwater differences, Nifong said it is fairly common for sharks and rays to share the water with alligators. Although alligators don't have salt glands like true crocodiles, they are resourceful as they travel between freshwater and marine habitats. According to Nifong, alligators can sip fresh water off the surface of the salt water when it rains heavily. "That can prolong the time they can stay in a saltwater environment".

Alligators typically eat fish, crustaceans and snails, but Nifong's research found evidence that they had consumed three species of shark and a type of stingray. Some historical journal article is also there which described how the blood of alligators feeding on fish attracted the sharks.

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