American alligators love to eat sharks whenever wanders in salt water. However, in Florida, these alligators can be seen strolling nearby golf courses which make the opponents of game, play carefully on grounds. Therefore, when alligators go back to the coastal water, they look for the sharks to hunt and eat, as per the recent study.
According to a study published in the journal Southeastern Naturalist, the instance of alligators hunting small sharks besides the Atlantic and Gulf coast, have been recorded by the US researchers and this study also claims to be the first scientific research of the generously hidden fight within the two predators.
James Nifong who is a researcher at Kansas State University said that the incidence of one predator eating the other is the matter of size. It totally relates to the size dynamics. Likewise, if a small sark swims by the alligator and the alligator feels that it can hunt the shark easily then it will do that. However, there are also some old tales when sharks haunting the small alligators and eating.
Mr. Nifong has spent around 10 years in studying about the alligators along with his colleagues near the Florida and Georgia coasts. He has often used the lamps to see the nighttime hunting activities. Along with this, more than 500 alligators were caught. The stomach of alligators got pumped to observe what they have consumed.
His research came up with the proof of the alligators had consumed a type of stingray and three species of shark (3-4ft sized measured). Whereas the alligator generally eats fish, crustaceans, and snails.
Nifong saw the evidence of alligators trapping with sharks in the late 1870s, by studying the historical record. Due to the limited observations to an island off the Georgia coast, there was only one incident of the shark attacking the group of alligators which were feasting on fish. “The shark-eaters alligators are found near the Atlantic coast of Georgia and Florida, nearby to Florida’s Gulf coast,” according to the study.
The alligators are very good at taking the advantage of opportunity as sharks can be seen in the salt water and alligators prefer fresh water. Even though whenever sharks and stingrays swim into the fresh water, the alligators take them down. Likewise, for hunting the sharks, alligators can survive in the salt water too, as the alligators just wait for the instances which result in dilution of surface water,i.e. heavy rainfall then alligators sip the water immediately. Therefore, alligators are winning in this attacking game. The ratio of taking down the sharks is higher than the ratio of sharks hunting the small alligators.
Likewise, for hunting the sharks, alligators can survive in the salt water too, as the alligators just wait for the instances which result in dilution of surface water,i.e. heavy rainfall then alligators sip the water immediately. This trick prolongs the time period of surviving in the saltwater environment.
The alligator population is under pressure because the coastal development has pushed alligators out of their estuarine habitats. This activity has influenced many interactions. Therefore, to discover that alligator attacks on sharks are increasing or not, more research is required.
Nifong said that the study draws a question that how important the shark and stingray for the alligator diet along with the death of some the younger sharks when population management of endangered species comes in concern.