In this guide, we’ll answer the question:
“What eats alligators?”
First, you’ll find a short summary of what animals eat alligators in the wild and then get a detailed list of alligator predators.
Alligators are in the order crocodilian in the genus of Alligator of the family Alligatoridae. There are two extant species: the American alligator and the Chinese alligator.
The average lifespan for an alligator has never been measured; however, one of the oldest alligators on record lived to be 83 or 84 years and died in the Moscow Zoo in May 2020.
What Eats Alligators?
Animals that eat alligators include bears, birds of prey, fish, hogs, otters, raccoons, snapping turtles, wading birds, humans, and other alligators. An alligator lays eggs that can be eaten and both juveniles and adults have many natural predators and fall prey to a variety of species.
Bears typically do not attack alligators for food. However, an alligator is known for ambushing bears in the wild which can cause a bear to retaliate and kill the alligator.
A bear is more commonly known for depredating alligator nests. Bears are carnivoran mammals that eats alligators eggs when it is possible to get ahold of them.
Birds of Prey
Birds of prey are one of the top alligator predators in the United States and China.
The bird species in this group, (e.g., hawks, owls, falcons, and eagles) characteristically have excellent sight and strong mandibles which allow them to easily attack, grab, and eat juvenile alligators.
FIsh like the freshwater bass, sharks, and the Goliath Tigerfish are known to feast on baby and juvenile alligators in the water.
Wild hogs mostly eat plant matter, but wildlife specialists have confirmed that wild hogs will also feed on alligator eggs, which can include between 20 to 50 eggs in a single nest.
Otters are carnivorous mammals that are extremely smart, agile, and strong predators. And an otter will devour any animal it can catch and overpower, including a small alligator.
River otters also eat alligator eggs.
Raccoons are one of the most resourceful animals in North America and prefer wetland areas near streams, marshes, lakes, swamps, and rivers, which are freshwater environments alligators like to live in.
Therefore, raccoons cross paths with many reptiles and these mammals will happily eat an alligator that is small in size as well as the eggs in a nest.
Snapping turtles are opportunistic predators and freshwater animals that eat alligators when the opportunity strikes.
Though not a regular food source for snapping turtles, adult turtles are known to kill and eat small alligators in the wild.
Research shows that wading birds like storks, herons, egrets, ibises, and spoonbills often choose to nest above alligators to get protection from nest predators.
And while a wading bird will give up a few chicks to an alligator every now and then, the fact is that wading birds also snack on baby alligators as well.
Alligator meat is edible for humans, and therefore, these reptiles are actively hunted by people to use in many cuisines.
Humans are probably the most significant mortality factor for alligators and at one point were in great danger of extinction. After these animals were listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1967, hunting was prohibited and their habitat was protected. The species then made a dramatic recovery and was removed from the endangered species list in 1987.
Alligators may be their own worst enemy in nature.
Cannibalism is common among alligators and it is normal for a bigger alligator to cannibalize a younger alligator.
This trend also helps keep the alligator populations stable in nature.
What Do Alligators Eat?
Alligators are also predators that must prey on other animals to survive.
You can visit our other guide on what do alligators eat to find out more about what these reptiles feed on for nutrition.
Animals That Eat Alligators Summary
You now know what eats alligators in the wild and which species are the top alligator predators.
As you discovered in this guide, there are about 10 animals that eat alligators in nature
I’m the lead editor and writer for Animal Answer Guide. I enjoy sharing expert knowledge on the various characteristics of common species within the five distinct groups of animals: amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles.