Foraging Responses by the American Alligator to Meat Extracts
Field and laboratory experiments demonstrate that the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) uses chemoreception to locate raw meat or animal carcasses in both aquatic and terrestrial environments (Scott and Weldon, 1989; Weldon et al., 1990). Observations during routine feedings indicate that alligators submerge and wave their head from side to side before seizing a morsel of meat in their aquarium (Neill, 1971; Coulson and Hernandez, 1983). More underwater head-waves and mouth-openings were exhibited by alligators to an aqueous extract of beef than to plain water, indicating that these behaviors are elicited by chemical cues (Weldon et al., 1990). The conditions under which free-ranging alligators attend to chemicals from food are unknown, but Weldon et al. (1990) suggest that they respond to the scent of carrion and injured prey.
KeywordsMeat Extract Plain Water Feather Meal Corn Gluten Meal Animal Carcass
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