Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Snack attack: alligators like to eat sharks, study reveals

Researchers find alligators preying on small sharks in Atlantic and Gulf
‘The frequency of one predator eating the other is really about size dynamic’

Oliver Milman in New York

Tuesday 17 October 2017 22.20 BSTLast modified on Tuesday 17 October 2017 23.37 BST

American alligators are frequently seen ambling around golf courses in Florida as players warily compete their rounds. But new research suggests the reptiles partake in a far more outlandish habit when away from the greens – eating sharks.

US researchers have documented instances of alligators preying upon small sharks along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. A study, published in the journal Southeastern Naturalist, claims to be the first scientific study of the largely unseen struggle between the two feared predators.

“The frequency of one predator eating the other is really about size dynamic,” said James Nifong, a researcher at Kansas State University. “If a small shark swims by an alligator and the alligator feels like it can take the shark down, it will, but we also reviewed some old stories about larger sharks eating smaller alligators.”

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