Fun Facts About Alligators & Safety Tips For Kids & Adults

Crab Shack Gator Band.
Crab Shack Gator Band. | Source

Danger: Don't Feed Alligators

Tourists in Southeastern USA may see danger signs like this one and should heed the warning!
Tourists in Southeastern USA may see danger signs like this one and should heed the warning! | Source

This hub will take a light-hearted view about a serious topic: how to keep tourists and alligators safe from each other.

Imagine that you are on vacation in the Southeastern United States and your child sees a sign that says, "Danger: Don't Feed the Alligators."

He turns to you and asks, "Why can't we feed the alligators? Do alligators eat tourists if you get too close to them?"

Do you, a parent raised in northern climates where you've never seen a live alligator know how to answer this question? If not, read on and let your child read this article, too. It will help teach him to respect alligators and learn actions and attitudes that will protect both alligator and tourist from each other.

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The Crab Shack: Fun Place to Eat

Entrance to Crab Shack Restaurant on Tybee Island, Georgia. The seafood is delicious, the decor casual and fun.
Entrance to Crab Shack Restaurant on Tybee Island, Georgia. The seafood is delicious, the décor casual and fun. | Source

Where Did the Cute Signs in This Hub Come From?

The delightful painted signs that appear in the rest of this hub were photographed in Tybee Island, Georgia, at the Crab Shack Restaurant which has delicious seafood and a funky, laid back décor plus an alligator lagoon that features fake alligators with an amazingly realistic appearance.

There are also cartoon like scenes of the Crab Shack Gator House Band and Female Gator Singers. So sit back, enjoy the pics and be prepared to learn some fascinating fun facts about American alligators plus some information that will keep you safe when you are on vacation in a southern state.

The Crab Shack Gator Lagoon on Tybee Island

The Crab Shack Restaurant's  Gator Lagoon entrance on Tybee Island, GA. You can learn all you need to know about alligator safey here.
The Crab Shack Restaurant's Gator Lagoon entrance on Tybee Island, GA. You can learn all you need to know about alligator safey here. | Source

You Can Guess a Gator's Age by His Size

This gator was about 7 feet long. Read the next sign to see how old that makes him.
This gator was about 7 feet long. Read the next sign to see how old that makes him. | Source

Young Gators Grow a Foot Each Year

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Baby Gators are Born With Teeth

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Temperature Determines Whether a Gator is Born a Boy or Girl

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Gators are Air Breathers

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So, Do Alligators Eat Tourists?

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Never Disturb, Feed or Approach Gators Especially if They're Babies

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Fun Facts and Trivia About Alligators

  • American alligators have been off the endangered species list since 1987.
  • Florida and Louisiana currently have the largest alligator populations. It's estimated that there's 1 to 1.5 million in Florida and 1.5 million in Louisiana.
  • The alligator is the official state reptile of Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.
  • The University of Florida's sports teams are nicknamed Gators.
  • Alligators eat fish, birds, turtles, snakes, mammals and amphibians.
  • The American alligator is known as King of the Everglades.

Update: Sad but True Tale About Alligator Tour Guide

This tale is taken straight from recent headlines (June & July 2012). An airboat captain in the Florida Everglades was leading an alligator tour and hung a fish over the side of the boat to entice an alligator to come closer. The alligator lunged toward the dangling fish successfully eating it, but tragically, the gator also bit the tour guide's hand off. Wildlife officials then tracked and killed the alligator, retrieved the man's hand, but unfortunately, it was unable to be reattached.

Authorities later arrested the tour guide and charged him with unlawful feeding of alligators. This story illustrates the danger of feeding alligators and is a reminder that doing so is illegal.

Leave the Gators Alone

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In Summary

Tourists and those who live in states that have alligators including North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma, must not get complacent around alligators or view them as pets.

Alligators are generally wary of humans and don't view them as potential prey but if tourists and residents feed them they will start to approach people instead of avoiding them. This is bad news for the gator and the human as it can lead to more alligator attacks that injure or kill humans which then leads to the alligator being captured and killed for being aggressive.

Alligator attacks have been increasing slightly in the past few years partly because their numbers have been increasing and also because many developments have been built on land that used to be part of alligator territory, especially in Florida, so it's becoming more important than ever to follow the simple rules mentioned in this article:

  • Never approach an alligator of any size and be aware that parents of baby alligators are more likely to become very aggressive if you go near them.
  • Never feed an alligator.
  • Expect that alligators may be in or around freshwater, swamp water and wetlands which are all their natural habitats.


American Alligator Quiz

Location of Crab Shack on Tybee Island

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Comments 58 comments

Ruby H Rose profile image

Ruby H Rose 4 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

Well, very great hub, I might say. What a wonderful idea with all the signs and places to eat and everything. I will for sure look this place up when I travel south! I love watching shows about them on TV.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Welcome Ruby H Rose,

So glad you liked the hub. I agree that there are some very good shows and documentaries about the American alligator on TV.

Thanks so much for leaving such a nice comment.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

This is indeed a fun Hub but with a great message. I am always honest with my son when he asks questions like this. But I have never done so like you did, with awesome photos and entertaining facts.

Baby alligator, "Mom what do tourists taste like?"

Mama alligator, "Tastes like chicken!"


hoteltravel profile image

hoteltravel 4 years ago from Thailand

Excellent hub with great pictures. The best part is the message you conveyed through this hub. These rules apply to other wild animals as well. Even after reading warning signs, many visitors ignore them to pose for pics. Voted up and shared.


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey

I am so totally not an allegator fan-- I used to cringe at the idea of them in the New York City sewers, much less in the swamps of Florida. Had a friend whose mini-poodle was eaten by one years ago -- no Florida for me in the winter-- I prefer snow to those critters.... but I love your hub and the pix are great voting this one up up up.


Melovy profile image

Melovy 4 years ago from UK

This is such a fun and informative hub. They don’t sound as dangerous as crocodiles, but nonetheless I will take your advice next time I am near one and not get too near!

Years ago we visited the Florida Keys and shortly after our return there was a television series called “Key West,” which we watched because we loved Key West! In it one man had an alligator for a pet!

I’m voting this up and all across the board.


iamaudraleigh 4 years ago

I like this hub a lot!!! I voted up!!


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Hyphenbird,

Your Baby alligator speaking to Mama about what do tourists taste like really made me chuckle!

Am glad you answer your children's questions truthfully even when the answer is about a serious topic.

Glad you liked the photos and fun facts. As soon as I saw that Crab Shack Gator Lagoon I knew I had to do a hub about it.

Thanks for taking time to leave such an awesome comment.

Love your sense of humor.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Hoteltravel,

Thanks for leaving a comment that adds to the content of this hub. Yes, the lessons here also apply to tourist and human interactions with other wild animals and yes, all too often people ignore signs and try to get up close in order to take pictures which is very risky behavior.

Thanks for the vote up and for sharing this hub.

I'll be by to check out some of your hubs later as judging from your hubber name we have a common interest in travel.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Robie2,

I so appreciate your vote up and kind words about this hub even though you're not an alligator fan.

Yes, alligators are very dangerous to pets especially if the pets are unleashed or left unsupervised in a yard that's near a lagoon or pond.

Am sorry that your friend lost a mini-poodle. It must have been very traumatic for her. I didn't address the issue of keeping pets safe from alligators in this hub but it's a big problem in the south. Your comment should remind pet owners that they need to be very vigilant and not let pets run free.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Melovy,

Thanks for the votes up and for leaving such an interesting and important comment.

Some people do keep alligators as "pets" and that's a dangerous practice. These are wild animals who become more and more dangerous as they get bigger. The alligators may seem cute when they're babies but even a baby alligator can cause a nasty wound when it bites and may even "chomp" off a finger in its powerful jaws!

I'm glad you had an opportunity to visit Key West which is very beautiful.

Sending Hub Hugs across the Atlantic.

Gail


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Welcome Iamaudraleigh,

I'm thrilled you liked the hub and thank you so much for voting it up.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

Hi Gail, I promise I will never approach or feed an alligator as advised above!

Thank you for this wonderful, informative and fun hub, I loved all the pictures!

Voted up.

Best wishes Lesley


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Movie Master,

Your comment made me smile. So glad you've taken a "pledge" to never approach or feed alligators.

Nice to know you will be safe if you get to visit the southeastern part of the United States!

Appreciate the vote up and your sense of humor.

Glad you liked the pics.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Gail,

I had an aunt and uncle that used to have a second home in Florida and their home had a waterway behind it. They could never leave their dog outside without them being with it and keeping an eye on it. When the alligators would get to a certain size, they would be caught and released in another area less populated.

Interesting and useful hub. Voted as such and will share with my followers. Cute signs!!!


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Peggy,

Thanks for adding such an insightful comment. Pet owners in states that have alligators need to be very vigilant about protecting their pets and never leaving the pet outside without supervision.

Thanks so much for the vote up and for sharing this hub with your followers.


LadyLyell profile image

LadyLyell 4 years ago from George, South Africa

It takes a child to think up original questions!

Enjoyed the photos and the signs reminded me of the numerous ones in and around the National Kruger Park in South Africa with the same warnings.

Needless to say, many tourists ignor the warnings step out of their cars to catch a better photo and sadly become prey.

Voted interesting!


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi LadyLyell,

Thanks so much for your insightful comment. Too often, educational signs that have great advice are ignored, much like speed limit signs, and injury or death may be one of the consequences.

Still, all we can do is to continue to educate tourists and residents about the importance of following basic safety rules and hope that people will take the rules seriously.

Thanks for the vote up. It's greatly appreciated.


shea duane profile image

shea duane 4 years ago from new jersey

Great hub... but I think the answer is, "Only tourists who are fresh to Mommy and Daddy!" lol


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Shea Duane,

Love your sense of humor- that's such a great answer!

Glad you enjoyed the hub and thanks for leaving such a cool comment.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

Fascinating information. I really learned a lot. I thought this hub was great-voted up and across the board. wonderful photos and facts, and the quiz at the end was an added touch. well done! :)


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Denise,

I'm thrilled you liked it and learned something. I didn't know many of these facts either before I did the hub.

Thanks so much for the vote up.


femmeflashpoint 4 years ago

Boomer,

Loved this Hub, and again, great job with the photos!

I have to ask ... did you have dinner with your shoes on or off?

And, Hyph's comment about "tasting like chicken" is pretty much true. It does to me anyway.

If you like to stop by for dinner, I have Louisiana gator-boudain in the freezer!

femme


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Femme,

So glad you enjoyed this hub and the photos.

I had flimsy sandals on which was almost like being barefoot. (smile).

Thanks for your generous offer of hospitality! I've never had gator.

I do love chicken, however, so I probably would enjoy it, but to a notherner like myself, it just doesn't sound appealing.

Thanks for the great comment and for stopping by. It's very much appreciated.


DeepakTutlani profile image

DeepakTutlani 4 years ago from Jaipur

It was a great informative hub...i enjoyed a lot reading this. I liked the fact about Alligator's ability to produce male or female as per her wish.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Deepak Tutlani,

Glad you found it informative and enjoyed reading the facts about alligators.

Thanks for taking time to leave a comment and provide feedback. It's greatly appreciated.


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

Great hub! I enjoyed reading all of the facts about alligators through your text and photos of the cute signs, and learned a lot about alligators. As a Northerner, I'm very wary of alligators when I see them - those teeth scare me! Once, in the Everglades, I walked very close to several baby alligators before I realized they were there. Luckily, the mama didn't think I was a threat, but you can believe that I scurried away from them as fast as I could!

Interesting, fun and informative hub, voted up and shared!


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Stephanie,

So glad you enjoyed the hub.

Thanks for leaving a conment that added to its content. I can just imagine how nervous you felt when you realized you were close to the babies and mama might be nearby. You did the smartest thing- got yourself away from there as soon as possible!

Thanks for the vote up and sharing. I appreciate it.

Gail


Sunnie Day 4 years ago

Great hub Gail and one that brought back many memories! Growing up in South Ga. Gators were always seen. In fact the old movie with Burt Reynolds called Gator was filmed behind my house...not that it was about gators...haha. Anyway, one day my husband and I were fishing (when we had first got married), I had climbed out on this huge tree branch that reached over the water, not catching anything, I had climbed off and moved down the shore. He heard a splash, looking up, he had seen a large a gator. He could not find me as the last spot he had seen me was sitting on the large limb. He though the gator got me..lol Frantically he started running, yelling for me, then he saw me across the lake waving at him. Funny now but his heart did stop for a minute. It was so common to see them walk across the roads or swimming at the lakes..

Wonderful hub, with lots of interesting facts. Have been to Tybee Island but I think the crab shack maybe rather new but it has been over 20 years since I have been there..

Hugs,

Sunnie


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

The title of this hub made me chuckle. My children have asked me that before. This is a really well written, fun, colorful hub. Well done and interesting!


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

Living in S. Fl has brought me closer to these creatures than I care to be. Did you ever read my Hub about wild life in Fl? I actually hit a gator over the head with a broom. I never knew they could run so fast on land! Great Hub. I voted it UP, etc.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Sunnie,

Thanks for sharing your amusing alligator story though it surely wasn't funny to your husband when it happened. Sounds like he was so in love he would have wrestled that gator to save you if you truly had been taken down by it! LOL

I don't think the Crab Shack would have been there more than 20 years ago. It used to be just a campground and I think the restaurant started very casually when campers gathered for meals. I'm not sure but I think it became a full scale restaurant during the last 10 or 15 years when not only campers but also locals and other tourists started going there.

Hope you're having a great weekend.

Hub Hugs,

Gail


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Tammyswallow,

Your comment made me chuckle as it's proof that parents really do need to be prepared to answer this question!

Thanks for taking time to leave such great feedback.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Mary,

I do remember reading a hub about when you first moved there and tried to swat an alligator off your lawn with a broom. I think you said your husband was upset when you told him cause he knew how dangerous it was. Good thing you're a feisty lady! I think the gator knew he was no match for you. (smile)

Thanks for leaving such an enlightening comment. Had the gator run toward you instead of away from you the outcome could have been totally different. As you say, they can run fast for short distances.

Thanks for the vote up and great comment.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

Very interesting! And in answer to the kid's question, "Only if you jump in with them!" :-D

Voted up, useful, interesting and shared!


leros003 profile image

leros003 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

Makes me a little worried to live in Florida lol


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi DzyMsLizzy,

Love your witty answer! Thanks for giving me a good chuckle and for the vote up and sharing. It's greatly appreciated.


kimh039 profile image

kimh039 4 years ago

While I love the sun and the beaches in the south, I am not a big alligator or lizard fan. I recently heard of Tybee Island and would like to visit there someday. Thanks for explaining why NOT to feed the alligators. It makes sense now that you've explained it. It really is better for people and alligators to have some healthy fear of each other! Love your pics as usual, and passed the quiz (whew!) Hope you are doing well, Gail.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Leros003,

Thanks so much for leaving a comment. I appreciate it.

Love your profile pic which shows you have a soft spot for fun pictures.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

Loved all the cute signs and actually learned a few facts about alligators. But above all, I've decided that if I should ever meet one, I will definitely keep my eye on it and show it a little respect!


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Kim,

I was so glad to see your coment. I've been thinking of you and missed not seeing any new hubs from you recently.

I'm not a big alligator fan either but do think they're fascinating creatures. Yes, people and gators do need to have a healthy fear of each other or they both get into trouble.

Thanks for the kind words about the photos and hub.

Tybee Island is cool and so close to Savannah which means you can enjoy a lovely southern city and also spend time at the beach!

I'm doing well and hope you are, too.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Danette,

Glad you enjoyed the hub and gator facts. Yeah, they definitely need our respect. When I take photos of them I'm always on a walking bridge and using telephoto lenses!


jenniferg78 profile image

jenniferg78 4 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

Great fun and educational hub! Thanks for the lighthearted read.


KellyPittman profile image

KellyPittman 4 years ago from Walker, LA

Great Hub! Voted Up! I'm a Southern Louisiana Girl so I know how to stay away from those gators. You won't see my appearance on the next episode of Swamp People, that's for sure! One reason you shouldn't ever FEED an alligator is that just like any stray animal, it won't go away. On top of that, if they are used to being fed, then it becomes more likely that a human that doesn't bring them lunch, becomes lunch. This we learned from Wild Life and Fisheries when a gator ended up in my Aunt's Pond. Again, Great Job on this Hub! I enjoyed it.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Jenniferg78,

So glad you enjoyed it.

I appreciate you leaving a comment.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi KellyPittman,

Thanks for leaving such an educational comment that really adds to the content of this hub and gives some clear examples of why NOT to feed the alligators!


Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 4 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

Hi Gail ~ This hub is AWESOME!!! I can't believe how much I learned. Really great presentation. And I got 90% on the test, ha, not bad!


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Sharyn,

So glad you enjoyed it and passed the test with flying colors!

Thanks for leaving such a great comment and for making me chuckle.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

What a great title? I would answer "Yes, if they are tasty." Some great facts about a greatly misunderstood animal. Voting this Up and Interesting.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Alocsin,

Got a good chuckle out of your snappy comeback line!

Glad you enjoyed the article and thanks for the vote up.


MrAungst profile image

MrAungst 4 years ago from Penna

Hey this was a great read. I live in PA but my dad recently moved to Georgia, where there's legitimate reason to know these sorts of things. I'm traveling there this summer for the first time to visit, and now I feel a bit more prepared.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi MrAungst,

So glad you found it helpful and hope that you enjoy your visit to your dad this summer.

Thanks for taking time to leave a comment.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

Up up and away again Gail my so talented friend.

Take care and enjoy your weekend.

Eddy.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Eddy,

A comment from you always brighten my day my dear friend. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Gail


josh3418 profile image

josh3418 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

HBN,

Very informative hub, detailed, clear, enjoyable and awesome! I loved all the pictures from the crab shack and the facts were cool as well! Thanks for sharing!


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi Josh,

So glad you enjoyed it and I thank you for the specific feedback and for sharing.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

Educational and enjoyable hub. When I lived in Louisiana, we'd occasionally have gators who ate neighbor's pets. They are nothing to fool around with. In Louisiana they ate gators. It was actually pretty good, especially fried.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 3 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hi FlourishAnyway,

Thanks for leaving such specific feedback and for sharing your personal experiences regarding gators.

I appreciate your taking time to leave an insightful comment about gators eating pets but also about humans eating gators.

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