Do Crocodiles & Alligators Eat Fish? Facts You Should Know

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Do Crocodiles & Alligators Eat Fish? Facts You Should Know

Alligators and crocodiles are of several varieties and prefer eating different animals. Let us find out more about it. 

Alligators and crocodiles eat fish along with other animals, such as birds, snails, turtles, bugs, frogs, crustaceans, and reptiles. Being carnivores and opportunistic feeders, crocodiles and alligators are indiscriminate when it comes to their prey and can hunt humans and animals alike for food.

There is a lot of debate and discussion around the eating habits of crocodiles and alligators. Together, we will delve further into this topic.

Image Credits: “File:Djerba Explore Nile Crocodiles eating 03.JPG” by Ad Meskens is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

What type of fish do alligators eat?

The type of fish an alligator eats depends on its environment, size, location, and age. 

Alligators mostly eat all types of fish found in the ocean. However, here’s a table of the fishes different types of alligators consume:

Type of AlligatorType of Fish Consumed
American AlligatorSea Trout, Red Snappers, Bass, Catfish, Black Bullhead, Crappies, American Eel, and Sunfish.
Chinese AlligatorSilver Carp, Catfish, Pacific Herring, Dotted Gizzard Shad, and Ray-Finned Fishes

Image Credits: “File:American Alligator eating Blue Crab 2.JPG” by Gareth Rasberry is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Do crocodiles eat fish?

Crocodiles eat fish as well as frogs, crustaceans, birds, and mammals. They are opportunistic feeders who hunt down whatever comes their way when they are looking for food. They may prefer one animal over the other, but they eat indiscriminately. In fact, crocodiles often hunt human beings as well.  

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An interesting fact to note is that crocodiles in captivity are encouraged to hunt by worms and fish being placed in their vicinity. The meat fed to them is also chopped properly, which makes it easy to consume.

What type of fish do crocodiles eat?

Image credits: “File:Saltie-eats-fish-LKY-3.jpg” by Lip Kee Yap is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The type of fishes crocodiles eat depends strictly on their location and the availability of the fishes. Here’s a table listing the various fishes that crocodiles eat:

Crocodile SpeciesType of Fish Consumed
Saltwater CrocodileIndian Mackerel, Clownfish, Gourami, Walking Catfish, Silver Carp, Snakehead Murrel, Blue Salmon, Queenfish.  
Freshwater Crocodile Crappies, Trout, Sunfish, American Shad, Atlantic Salmon, Rainbowfish.
Nile Crocodile Sharptooth Catfish, Cichlids, African Tigerfish, Shortfin Barb.
American Crocodile Atlantic Salmon, Striped Bass, Largemouth Bass, Rainbow trout, Bluegill, Cod, Neotropical Knifefish. 
Gharial Carps, Hilsa, Catfishes, Mullets, Clupeids.
Dwarf Crocodile African Snook, West African Lungfish, Blue Tilapia. 

Do fishes eat crocodiles?

Image Credits: “Hydrocynus goliath” by Joel Carnat is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Fishes eating crocodiles may sound like a ridiculous concept, but let us learn more about it.

Fishes do eat crocodiles. In particular, the Goliath Tigerfish is infamous for eating crocodiles. This animal is just 1.5 meters long, but they have a sharp set of 32 teeth that resembles those of a great white shark. Therefore, they go after small crocodiles and can take pieces out of their body. 

How much do crocodiles eat per day?

On average, crocodiles eat no more than 2 to 5 pounds of meat in a day. In a week, a crocodile usually eats 5% of its body weight. The quantity of food a crocodile consumes depends on the availability of prey and their size. In case of an abundance of prey, a crocodile may eat more.

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Over the years, it has been observed that crocodiles have shifted to a more terrestrial-based diet comprising animals such as pigs due to the lack of availability of marine prey.

How much do alligators eat per day?

On average, alligators can eat around 1 to 3 kgs of food per day and can eat 17kgs of food in a single meal. Alligators are cold-blooded animals, like crocodiles, and do not need to eat every day. They eat once a week, and the excess calories are stored as fat in their bodies. 

How long can crocodiles live without food?

Crocodiles can live for up to 2 years without any food, and so can alligators. This is because they are cold-blooded animals who do not need much food. The excess calories collected by their body are stored as fat which helps maintain their energy levels. 

Do crocodiles and alligators eat humans?

It is extremely rare for crocodiles and alligators to eat humans. We must remember that crocodiles and alligators are essentially opportunistic feeders, and therefore, if no other prey is available, they might attack and kill humans.

Although there have been records of crocodiles and alligators attacking humans and eating them, such instances occur once in a blue moon. 

How do crocodiles hunt fishes?

Crocodiles capture fishes in their massive jaws before crushing and swallowing them. They move stealthily in water so that their prey is not alerted. Crocodiles do not cut down or chew their prey like some other animals. When it comes to bigger animals, they drag them into the water and drown them.

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We must add here that crocodiles often hunt in the dark and move around with utmost stealth. As such, catching their prey is an easy task. 

Do crocodiles hunt in teams?

As per recent scientific research, crocodiles and alligators work in a team to hunt their prey. Crocodiles tend to swim in circles around a fish shoal, making the circle smaller so that the fishes all come together. Then, they would take turns snatching the fish.

Conclusion

Alligators are eaten by animals such as bears, birds of prey such as falcons and eagles, river otters, and raccoons. These animals usually attack small alligators and can effectively capture them. 

Similarly, small and large crocodiles are often captured by humans who use them for commercial exploits, as well as by birds of prey and large felines. 

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