31
May

Predators of Alligators: Animals That Can Take Them On

They say it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. That actually holds true in the natural world. Only a few animals have the size, power, or cunning not to worry about getting eaten. These animals are also known as apex predators.

“Apex” is Latin for top or peak. Meanwhile, “praedator” means plunderer. When combined, an apex predator is a creature that’s on top of the food chain. They dominate a particular environment and are not preyed upon. Some of the more known predators are wolves, sharks, and alligators. Humans are also predators. In fact, we’re the dominant one across various ecological systems.

Apex predators are fearsome, but they’re not invulnerable. There will always be another creature that’s bigger or more vicious. Take the alligator, for example. They might be the scourge of Florida’s swamplands, but they are still preyed upon. Here are some of the top predators of alligators:

Burmese Pythons

The Burmese python is one of the world’s gigantic snakes. It can grow up to 23 feet long and weigh as much as 200 pounds. It’s a formidable predator due to its razor-sharp teeth and flexible jaws. It’s a native of Southeast Asia, which is why it’s surprising to learn that it has become a problem in Florida.

The Burmese python tends to prey on smaller reptiles. But it can take on an alligator if necessary. It can crush a gator by wrapping itself around its fellow reptile’s body. A python can also swallow an alligator whole.

There’s a recent video showing scientists finding an alligator inside a python. The alligator in question was a five-foot-long juvenile though. A python might not be able to swallow a 10-foot-long adult gator. But it doesn’t mean it can’t crush and drown it.

Raccoons

Raccoons are always portrayed as bandits. It doesn’t have anything to do with its mask-like eye marking. This mammal has long fingers that are quick to snatch up food. Sometimes that can be alligator eggs.

Raccoons are omnivores. They eat fruits and nuts. They also dine on fish, insects, and rabbits. They are also known for going into an alligator’s habitat and raiding their nests for eggs. They also eat gator hatchlings. Turnabout is fair play though as bigger gators eat raccoons of all shapes and sizes.

Other Gators

Alligators are also preyed on by their fellow gators. It’s not unheard of for Floridians to see large gators chowing down on smaller ones. One study revealed that adult gators kill around seven percent of younglings. Scientists believe this cannibalism becomes more common when the food supply is low. It’s a disturbing practice but one that also prevents the overpopulation of the species. Alligators also hunt and attack other gators that encroach on their territory.

Human Beings

Humans are the one creature that alligators are afraid of. People hunt adult alligators for many reasons. They do this to cull the population and make the numbers manageable. Some people hunt gators to eat them or because they’re a danger to the area.

It’s legal to hunt alligators in Florida though. But there’s an established harvest quota that the state follows. The Sunshine State also has strict rules about alligator hunting. Prospective hunters have to apply for a license. These permits also restrict where and when one can hunt these reptiles.

Explore Florida in a Safe and Fun Way

The Sunshine State has more to offer than amusement parks. One of the best ways to explore its beauty is through Swamp Fever Airboat Adventures. Our company’s rated as the premier airboat company in Orlando. We offer educational and exciting airboat rides. You can enjoy a one-hour tour of Lake Panasoffkee with family and friends. Experience the best of Florida’s wildlife and have a free photo op with a live gator. Give us a ring at (352) 643-0708 to schedule a tour. You can also drop us a line at ronandpam@swampfeveriarboatadventures.com.