Alligators are basically carnivores, but they eat more than just meat, feeding on anything from sticks to fishing lures to aluminum cans. Mostly, they consume fish, turtles, snakes, and small mammals. When they are young they feed on insects, snails, and small fish.
Alligators hunt primarily in the water at night, snapping up small prey and swallowing it whole. Large prey are dragged under water, drowned and then devoured in pieces. Alligators have also been known to hold food in their mouth until it deteriorates enough to swallow. They also have a specialized valve in the throat called a glottis, which allows them to capture prey underwater.
With regards to hunting animals on land, alligators are usually considered idle hunters, waiting offshore for unsuspecting prey to drink at the water's edge. With this approach an alligator is likely to grab the drinking animal's head, slowly pulling it underwater until it drowns. In this way alligators exert minimal energy in capturing prey.
Animal Foods: birds; mammals; amphibians; reptiles; fish; eggs; insects; mollusks
Plant Foods: wood, bark, or stems
Primary Diet: carnivore (Eats terrestrial vertebrates, Piscivore )