Alligators are common here in Florida. So common that you should expect any body of water to have gators lurking in them. Alligators generally wont bother you unless you bother them but in some cases they can be more aggressive. These creatures are not only fast swimmers but fast on land and all too good at blending in. If you’re visiting the area or newly living here please take a moment and check out the tips below for keeping your alligator sightings just that, sighting and not attacks. Happy gator watching!
- Assumptions are needed in this cases. As mentioned above just assume any body of water that is not an open ocean beach to have gators in it. This means no swimming and no feet or finger dangling. Take care to keep pets out of the water as well. From the first recorded fatal gator attack on until now most deaths were result of swimming.
- Keep a safe distance. Recently my family and I were at a local park. It was one with a small lake, not a place you would expect to see gators and in the 100’s of trips we’ve made there this trip was the first we saw one. On-lookers crowded the shore right next to the playground to snap photos and watch. This alligator was visibly agitated and while he was a small one could still cause serious injury. The on-lookers sat on the end of the lake while this gator tried several small movements to figure out a way up but could not come out of the water. These people were lucky but many other cases are met with much worse outcomes. If you see gators please keep a safe distance and don’t crowd them. Take these creatures seriously.
- Don’t tease or feed them. Feeding alligators can cause them to become aggressive and seek food from other people that may not comply or have anything. Same with teasing. This is a huge point in not only caring for your safety but the safety of others and the gators.
- Don’t under estimate them! Most gator sightings you will see them slowly weaving their way through the waters or even soundly sleeping or lying on the banks somewhere. This doesn’t mean they are docile and slow creatures. Gator’s can run up to 11 mph and swim up to 20 mph. Don’t test that either.
- Situation awareness is key to your safety. Yep, guilty! I was so into photographing a hawk one day that was so curiously watching me from a tree that I walked up to a gator laying at the side of a creek. Luckily for me he slid off away from me into the water, I screamed, jumped, then retreated to my husband exclaiming how stupid I had been. One movement in the other direction could’ve been my foot or leg. Yikes! Always watch where you’re stepping and walking. Maybe I’ll share the story about our run in with a black bear in the future. I guess it takes twice for me to really learn!
- Run and run fast. While alligators are quick they will usually only chase “prey” on land for short distances and that’s great info to have when needing a way out.
- Go for the eyes. You will have limited time to fight and avoid life threatening injuries. Fight hard and be prepared to make your escape.
- Gators don’t lock down on prey so take advantage and be ready to pull away when they open their jaws.
Florida holds the highest record for alligator attacks most of which could have been avoided. Not only do our actions put us at risk but also the alligators who will likely be injured and/or killed as well. A creature like this reacts on instinct and isn’t meant to be interfered with. While they are fascinating to watch remember they deserve space as much as you deserve safety. Also keep in mind it is illegal to touch, move, or take any alligator. Those tiny babies may seem cute and fun but will pack HUGE fines for even a poke.
For a great gator spotting place check out our post on Sawgrass Lake Park.
Nature is meant to be untouched so enjoy watching it as it is from afar. Have an amazing and safe time alligator sighting. Thanks for reading.
See you later alligator!
Mandy- Wild Red
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