Okefenokee Alligator Apex Predator

American Alligator; Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Geogia.  ©www.williamwisephoto.com. Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally from Dreamstime.com.

Their status as an apex predator is probably what makes the American Alligator so fascinating and formidable. Apex predators are those at the top of the food chain. They have few, if any, other natural predators.

While a big alligator is capable of killing almost any other animal in the Okefenokee Swamp,  the truth is they mostly take prey that gives them the least trouble. Since they can’t chew, they mostly take animals that can be swallowed. Yes, they are famed for the “gator roll” method of tearing apart large prey, but that is a big expenditure of energy.

Young alligators consume snails, frogs, small fish and insects. The larger gators will take larger prey if an opportunity presents itself. And though it seems strange, alligators may even eat one of their own kind, as seen below in this iNaturalist observation from Joe Girgente.

American Alligator consuming another American Alligator. Photographed by Joe Girgente in Caw Caw Interpretive Center in Charleston, SC. iNaturalist observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/48973711. Used by permission.

iNaturalist observation: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/49132311

Published by William Wise

Hi, I’m conservation photographer and nature writer William Wise. Nature journaling and wildlife photography has been a favorite pastime since the ‘90s. I graduated from University of Georgia Warnell Forestry School's wildlife program in 1996. I'm currently an animal shelter manager/photographer and reside in Athens, Georgia, USA with my wife and two teenage daughters. My website www.williamwisephoto.com is a wildlife and birding photo website documenting the beauty, design and wonder of creation. I have a deep love of the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. I became a devoted Christian in 1993 under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation. I am also a guest author at Lee's Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. The theme of my blogging comes from The Message version of Psalms 104 -- "What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, You made earth overflow with your wonderful creations."

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