Alligators and Caimans: Alligatoridae
Alligators are meat-eaters, though they are anything but fussy about their prey. Youngsters will dine on snails and other invertebrates (in-VER-teh-brehts), which are animals without backbones. As they grow, they switch to the adult diet, which includes fishes, birds, small mammals, and other vertebrates (VER-teh-brehts), which are animals with backbones. They will also sometimes attack and devour smaller alligators and caimans. The larger species in this family are strong enough to kill a cow or deer for dinner.
Alligators hunt by ambush or by stalking. In ambush hunting, they remain still and wait for a prey animal to wander by. Stalking is usually done in the water. The alligator slowly and carefully swims closer and closer to a prey animal, perhaps a deer drinking at a watering hole, and then lunges forward to snap its jaws shut around the animal.
- Alligators and Caimans: Alligatoridae - Behavior And Reproduction
- Alligators and Caimans: Alligatoridae - Physical Characteristics
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