It is almost like something out of a guilty pleasure D-list movie: alligators vs. sharks. As unreal as it seems, however, a new study has revealed that the two creatures are indeed at war, with the latter animal said to be losing the battle.
According to Newsweek, scientists have discovered that the almighty shark may not be at the top of the food chain after all, with recent research showing that alligators can and will prey on the sea-dweller. The study, first published in Southeastern Naturalist, was conducted via the capture of 500 living alligators whose stomach contents were then studied by James Nifong, a researcher at Kansas State University. He was aided by wildlife biologist Russell Lowers, employed by the IMSS. A total of four different species of sharks were revealed to be favored by the Alligator mississippiensis, or American alligator. It was also discovered that a new species of stingray was being regularly eaten by the creatures.
Sorting through the pumped contents of the creatures was not easy, the KSU scientists admitted. Many of the ingredients he and his co-researcher found were either too small to be identified, or had already been digested to the point that they were irretrievable.
The alligators, reveals the Washington Post, are often so committed to their desire to consume shark meat that they are willing to travel into saltwater environments in order to commence their feast. Normally, the alligator’s system cannot handle saltwater, but if it is diluted they are actually able to take a full sip and thus enhance the length of time for their search. These hunts are usually done at night, meaning that James Nifong spent the majority of his decade-long research project in a headlamp-lit boat, primarily travelling along the coasts of such states as Georgia and Florida.
Although these new research findings are certainly astonishing, this is not the first time that alligators have been revealed to be consuming something unexpected. Last June, CNN reported that a multitude of the creatures were found by law enforcement authorities to be eating human remains in a Florida canal. After the alligators had been chased away by police, the body was safely retrieved from the water.
[Featured Image by Eric Gay/AP Images]