Wildlife Biologists Find American Alligators Eat Small Sharks and Stingrays


Gabrey did concede that he has never found sharks in their stomachs, though.

"In the article, we documented alligators consuming three new species of sharks and one species of stingray", James Nifong, postdoctoral researcher with the Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Kansas State University, said in a statement.

If you've ever wondered which toothy predator would come out victorious in an alligator versus shark face-off, you can consider your curiosity satisfied.

Meanwhile, Nifong said, it is not uncommon for sharks and rays swim into non-saline water where alligators can't pass up a good meal.

"Alligators seek out fresh water in high-salinity environments", Nifong said.

"In the happenstance that it rains out there, they can actually drink the fresh water off the top of the salt water", the researcher explained. "That can prolong the time they can stay in a saltwater environment".

"An alligator's diet typically consists of crustaceans, snails and fish, but because alligators are opportunistic predators, sharks may end up on the menu".

Alligators will eat sharks given a chance, a stomach-pumping scientist said in a recently published study, and the battle between the two feared predators often comes down to size and opportunity.

According to The Washington Post, the alligators stomachs were pumped using a hose, a pipe and a Heimlich-type maneuver.

They also equipped alligators with Global Positioning System transmitters to watch their movements and found the creatures often travel to estuaries containing both fresh and salt water. Alligators will obviously choose smaller sharks to take down, and it's not unheard of for a large shark to make off with a small gator.

Nifong told the Post that additional work was needed to find out if alligators were eating sharks in greater numbers and why it was happening, and he said while reports of sharks and alligators fights date back to the late 1800s, he believes their interactions may have increased because of development.