04:39 GMT +323 November 2017
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    An alligator floats atop the water of 40-acre lake at Brazos Bend State Park in Needville, Texas

    Alien Vs. Predator: American Alligators Found Snacking on Sharks

    © AP Photo/ Pat Sullivan
    Environment
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    Who'd have thought that such unsurpassed carnivores as sharks could merely be a dish in a crocodiles' menu?

    Despite a preference for eating fresh-water inhabitants, such as fish, crustaceans and snails, a recently released study had found that American alligators sometimes treat themselves to salt-water prey, like sea turtles, sharks and rays, along the Atlantic coast of Georgia and Florida, and near Florida’s Gulf Coast.

    James Nifong, a researcher at Kansas State University, his co-author Russell H. Lowers and their colleagues have spent nearly 10 years capturing alligators in the area. They have caught more than 500 reptiles and had their stomachs examined to see what they had consumed.

    American saltwater crocodile snapped in Chinchorro Atoll, Mexico
    © Photo: Jorge Cervera Hauser
    Underwater Photography

    ​The researchers had found three species of shark and a type of stingray. They have published the results of their study in the Southeastern Naturalist journal, where they explained that although sharks prefer salt water and alligators like fresh water, the sharks and rays could occasionally swim into freshwater and the GPS tracking of alligators revealed that they could come into the ocean. And when it is raining heavily they are able to sip fresh water off the surface, thus staying longer in the salty environment.

    However, more research is needed to study if the number of alligator attacks on sharks is increasing.

    Tags:
    turtle, alligator, shark, study, United States
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