Alligator vs Shark (What do Alligators Eat)

shark vs alligator

Alligator and shark are water animals that belong to different families and share many various features. The only common thing between them is that they both can be found in water. However, both are aggressive and dangerous, also. Let us compare the differences between the shark and the alligator and see who would win alligator vs. Shark if they both fight.

What Does an Alligator Look Like?

These giant reptiles belong to the Crocodilia order; the name alligator is derived from the Spanish word ‘El Lagarto’ which means ‘the lizard.’ Crocodiles are closely related to alligators, and people often get confused between the two. Two species of alligators can be distinguished. The American alligator has a round snout, thick scales, powerful tail, and webbed toes. While the Chinese alligator can be recognized with a smaller head, which is more robust, and these alligator species also possess a bony plate that lacks in the American alligators. However, the adults of both the species are black or dark olive-brown with white underparts. 

Where Does the Alligator Live?

Alligators can only be seen in the United States and China. The American alligators are native to southeast America in Florida, Texas, Mississippi, and Georgia. Where they prefer to live in freshwater, slow-moving lakes, streams, rivers, and marshes, the Chinese alligators can only be seen in the Yangtze River Valley. 

How Many Species of Alligators are There?

The American and the Chinese alligators are the two species of alligators.

What is the Size of Alligators?

The average length of an adult American alligator reaches 13.1 feet, and they weigh around 790 pounds. However, these species can even grow to 14 feet and weigh up to 990 pounds. The Chinese alligators are often smaller than the American alligators. An adult Chinese alligator measures 5 feet in length and weighs up to 80 pounds. But some larger males are known to reach up to 7 feet and weigh 100 pounds.

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What do Alligators Eat?

Alligators are ambush predators. They hunt and eat everything.

 The young alligators feed on fish, insects, snails, and worms. When they grow mature, they eat larger prey such as large fish, turtles, muskrat, deer, and other reptiles.

Alligator Reproduction:

The mating season in alligators is in late spring; the female builds a nest in summer using vegetation where the decomposition provides the heat needed to incubate the eggs. The gender of offspring is determined by the temperature in the nest and fixed within 7 to 21 days when incubation starts. The heat lower than 30 degrees C produces a clutch of females while the temperature higher than 34 degrees C produces a clutch of males. The newly born baby alligators are cared for and fed by mother for around a year.

Facts About Alligators:

  • Adult alligators are solitary, while the smaller can be found in groups.
  • When shined light on alligators, large alligators’ eyes will glow red while it will glow green in smaller.
  • From the late 1880s, alligators’ wrestling had been a source of entertainment. 
  • The American alligator is the largest reptile species in the Western Hemisphere.
  • Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana have the American alligator as their official state’s reptiles.

How long do Alligators Live?

The average lifespan of both the alligators in the wild is around 50 years.

Are Alligators Endangered?

Under the IUCN, the Chinese alligator is considered as endangered while the American alligator is classified as least concern. The reason behind the decreasing population of these reptiles is hunted by humans. They are threatened and raised by humans for their meat and skin, which is used for making bags and shoes.

What Does a Shark Look Like?

Sharks are a group of fish that can be recognized by their cartilaginous skeleton, five to seven-gill slits on each side of their head, and a pectoral fins that are not fused to the head. Sharks belong to the fish family with skeletons made of cartilage (a tissue more flexible and lighter than bone). They have multiple rows of teeth, while they lose teeth frequently, new teeth continue to grow.

Where Does the Shark Live?

Sharks can be found in all the five oceans of the earth. Some shark species prefer to live in shallow, coastal regions, while others inhabit the deep ocean floor and in the Open Ocean. However, some species like the bull shark are known to swim in saltwater, freshwater, and brackish waters.

How Many Species of Sharks are There?

More than 470 species of sharks can be found all over the world.

What is The Size of a Shark?

The smallest shark species are the dwarf lantern shark, which measures 6.7 inches in length, and the most abundant species is the whale shark that measures 40 feet in length.

What Do Sharks Eat?

Sharks are opportunistic hunters, but most of the sharks feed on smaller fish and invertebrates. Some of the larger sharks prey on seals, sea lions, and other marine creatures. However, sharks are also known to attack humans. 

How Fast can a Shark Swim?

The average speed at which the sharks swim is 5 miles per hour, but when feeding or attacking the prey, they can reach 12 miles per hour. The Shortfin Mako shark is the fastest that can swim at a rate of 31 miles per hour. 

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Sharks Reproduction:

Some of the sharks bear live birth, while some other species release eggs that hatch later. The gestation period in sharks can be up to two years long. Depending on the species, sharks can have from 1 to 100 babies at a time. However, sharks who are giving live birth can have only a few at a time. Sharks search for a safe place where they can lay their eggs or give birth. 

Facts About Sharks:

  • Most of the shark species are cold-blooded, which means that their internal body temperature matches their surrounding environment.
  • Sharks possess all the senses that we have: hearing, smell, touch, eyesight, and taste. They can also sense of electricity and vibration in the water.
  • They can live to a depth of 7,000 feet while some can live even more in-depth, ranging below 10,000 feet. 
  • Few sharks are known to attack and kill humans. Out of 470 species, only four species had been involved in fatal and attacking humans. These sharks are the great white shark, the oceanic whitetip shark, bull shark, and tiger shark. 
  • A new record of shark attacks around the world was set in 2015, with 98 incidents, including six personal attacks. 

How Long Do Sharks Live?

The average lifespan of most of the shark species is between 20 to 30 years, but some have known to live longer than others.

Are Sharks Endangered?

Under IUCN, 64 species of sharks have classified as endangered because of the higher risk of fishing and shark finning.

Shark vs Alligator Who Would Win?

It is hard to tell who would win in a fight between a shark and an alligator because both are strong and powerful. However, it depends on what shark species are fighting with the alligator. They both have robust jaw and strong bite force. Using their unique hunting skills, they can severely hurt their predators. Also, both are known to attack humans, so it will be challenging to pretend the winner. 

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