Fun fact: There’s a good reason alligators eat rocks


alligatorDid you know alligators voluntarily eat rocks? Some animals, like birds, eat rocks which helps them break down food in their digestive system, but new research suggests alligators eat rocks for a different reason.

Scientists at the University of Utah found out alligators are able to spend longer underwater after eating rocks. Alligators spend a lot of their time underwater: hunting prey and avoiding predators. To stay underwater, they need enough oxygen to survive, but not too much oxygen that it makes the alligator buoyant, and float rather than sink.  Ingesting rocks weighs the alligator down, allowing it to take deeper breaths of air before diving underwater.

1 Lithophagy Prolongs Voluntary Dives in American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) . T J Uriona M Lyon C G Farmer. Integrative Organismal Biology, Volume 1, Issue 1, 1 January 2019, oby008,