Alligators are apex predators in their wetland environments, which includes swamps, rivers, and lakes. They feed on fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals as adults, while younger gators eat mostly invertebrates. Adult gators are known to prey on sharks, and sharks are also known to prey on alligators where their habitats overlap.
Alligators attack their prey with their substantial jaws, which have one of the strongest bite forces ever measured in a living animal. Like many other crocodilians, alligators are mostly ambush predators that lurk near the water’s edge, resembling a log or piece of debris, waiting to strike at an animal that comes within range. They are also known to hunt on land when the temperature is warm enough.
Alligators are one of the few animals that have been observed using tools to catch prey. They will sometimes balance a stick on their exposed head while in the water, waiting for a bird to land on them to attempt to snatch it.
Alligators are cold blooded, meaning that they absorb heat to warm their body from the outside environment. Because of this, they are often seen basking on the shore.