Adult alligators have few predators other than humans, but they sometimes kill and eat each other. However, young alligators less than 4 feet long are killed by birds, raccoons, bobcats, otters, snakes, large bass and other alligators. Raccoons are also known to eat alligator eggs.
LiveScience reports that 6 to 7 percent of baby alligators are eaten by larger adult alligators. Some humans raise alligators for their meat and skin. Eggs and juveniles are harvested from swamps, with adults sometimes being returned to maintain population density in the wild.
The Smithsonian estimates that up to 80 percent of young alligators are killed before maturity. At birth, they are only 6 to 8 inches long, making them extremely vulnerable to predators. Infant alligators live in pods that are fiercely defended by the mother, making them somewhat unusual among reptiles. On average, they grow about 1 foot per year, reaching adulthood when they are six years old.
Alligators live up to 50 years. Males average 11 feet in length. Alligators are extremely carnivorous, with reports of them occasionally attacking humans or eating domestic animals, their diets dependent on their size. Baby alligators eat insects, invertebrates and small fish, while adult alligators eat turtles, small mammals, birds, snakes and larger fish.