What Do Alligators Eat? (Alligator Diet and Favorite Food)

In this article, we’ll answer the question:

“What do alligators eat?”

First, you’ll find a short summary of what alligators eat in nature, then get a list of an alligator’s favorite foods that make up a typical alligator diet. And finally, answers to common questions about alligator feeding habits and nutrition.

Alligators are carnivorous reptiles and opportunistic feeders. Alligators are in the order crocodilian within the family Alligatoridae and genus Alligator. There are two extant species of alligators: the American alligator and the Chinese alligator.

What Do Alligators Eat
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What Do Alligators Eat?

Alligators eat amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and other reptiles. An alligator’s diet is determined by both its size and age and the size and availability of prey in its habitat.

Alligator Diet (Favorite Food)

  • Clams
  • Crustaceans
  • Fish
  • Frogs
  • Insects
  • Mollusks
  • Shrimp
  • Snakes
  • Turtles
  • Waterfowl
  • Worms

How Often Does an Alligator Eat?

An alligator often eats once a week when living in the wild. Alligators store excess calories in fat deposits at the base of their tail which allows these reptiles to go a long time between feedings.

How Much Do Alligators Eat Per Day?

Alligators eat 1 to 3 kg per day on average but can feed up to 17 kg in a single meal. Once per week is sufficient enough eating for an alligator to stay healthy.

How Long Can Alligators Live Without Food?

Alligators can live two to three years without food. An alligator is able to slow down its metabolism enough to preserve energy so it can survive without food for a long time.

Will Alligators Eat Humans?

Alligators will not eat humans and rarely attack a human for food. Even if there was a fatal attack due to protecting their young or aggressive behavior from a human, alligators tend to not eat the human body even after it has been killed.

Do Alligators Eat Deer?

Alligators do eat deer when the opportunity presents itself in nature. An alligator will ambush a deer that is drinking from water sources, swimming across a river, or walking along a riverbank.

Do Alligators Eat Dogs?

Alligators do eat dogs when the canine invades the alligator’s natural habitat. Large alligators can eat big dogs like Great Danes, German Shepherds, and pit bulls while average-sized alligators can feed on small dogs like terriers, poodles, and dachshunds.

What Animals Eat Alligators?

Alligators are prey to a number of different species.

You can visit our other guide on what animals eat alligators to find out which predators actively feed on these reptiles.

Alligator diet

Alligator Eating Habits and Diet Summary

You now know what do alligators eat in the wild as well as the typical food in an alligator diet.

As you discovered in this guide, alligators are carnivorous and opportunistic feeders that prey on various species for nutrition with an alligator’s favorite food being things like fish, frogs, snakes, and turtles.