See you later Alligator! – How to avoid and survive an attack
Cute little guy, but also slightly frightening…
I am hoping to visit Florida later this year but have been worried by seeing one too many news articles of people being attacked by alligators. After some research though (which I’m sharing below), I’ve come to the conclusion that attacks are rare and can be mostly avoided by taking a few steps. I’ve seen quite a few people on this forum from the southeast, so please share any additional experience you have.
Quick summary: Man was out late at night looking for frisbees along a lake and gets attacked by an alligator. Another person finds his body the next morning.
Lessons learned: Don’t walk around bodies of water at night when your visibility is limited and alligators are more active. If you NEED to go around water at night, wear a headlamp and look around for glowing eyes reflecting back at you.
This person also was known to frequent the park and disregard the posted “No Swimming” signs. So follow the rules.
Quick summary: Not too many details here except that the person died near a retention pond.
Lessons learned: So even shallow and man made bodies of water can have alligators.
Quick summary: Lady sees a alligator in the pond of a friends house and goes out to take pictures of it. Her friend warns her that the alligator grabbed a deer from that spot the other day and the lady just ignores her and says “I don’t look like a deer.” The lady then goes in to touch the alligator and it grabs and pulls her into the water. The husband of the friend grabs a rope and throws it to her to try and pull her out but the alligator got her to waist deep water and rolled pulling her down and killing her.
Lessons learned: Pretty obvious here to most. Don’t get near alligators, don’t try and pet them. If you are trying to save someone who is being pulled in by one then do what these guys did and throw a rope and don’t go in yourself.
Quick summary: Lady walks her dog near the water’s edge and the alligator lunges out to eat the dog but only grabs the leash. The lady is able to unhook the dog’s collar but the alligator then pulls her in.
Lessons learned: Again, stay away from the water’s edge in places where alligators might live.
Quick summary: Mother and two young children hit an alligator crossing the road and then crash their car and die.
Lessons learned: They can even get you on the highways. Drive slow, especially around blind corners and hills.
Quick summary: Finally a good story. 10 year old girl sitting in some shallow water is bit by an alligator. She thumps it on the head and nothing happens. She then remembers a survival technique she learned when visiting Gatorland and stuck her fingers into it’s nostrils which caused the alligator to open it’s mouth.
Lessons learned: Pick a alligator’s nose if it bites you.
Here’s some comedic ways to deal with alligators/crocodiles. (not recommended):
How to avoid an attack:
These are the areas where the American alligator live
From what I learned, there are some crocodiles in Florida, but they are rare and the main threat you are likely to encounter in the USA is the American Alligator. Still, tips on how to avoid them should be about the same.
Spring to early summer is mating season and protective mothers watch over their eggs hatching in September and October. Winter is the safest season because it is cold and they aren’t doing a whole lot.
When temperatures start settling into the 80s (27 Celsius), gators become mostly nocturnal. So it’s best to avoid that refreshing night dip in unknown waters when it’s hot.
Don’t feed, bother, or provoke alligators. Feeding them is bad because it makes them associate humans with food.
Avoid heavy vegetation near the water’s edge where they might be nesting or waiting.
If you are attacked, try poking the eyes or sides of the mouth. If you are on land, avoid the myth of running in a zig-zag and just run in a straight line. If you are caught in the famous death roll, try and roll with it to reduce tearing of your limbs.
Check for ripples in the water, look for backs, eyes, or snouts sticking above the surface. They are most likely to be near the shoreline, in shallow areas, and in weedy areas.
If you hear this sound near your area, avoid it.
Although, they most likely are going to be silent and stealthy when stalking their prey.
Fight back by punching, kicking, and poking it’s eyes. Try and stuff objects like a life jacket into it’s mouth and trigger its gag reflex.
If you are swimming in the water and see an alligator swimming by, remain calm and stay as still as possible to not draw attention to yourself.
The Legend himself