Fun Facts About Alligators & Safety Tips For Kids & Adults
Danger: Don't Feed Alligators
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.
The Crab Shack: Fun Place to Eat
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
You Can Guess a Gator's Age by His Size
Young Gators Grow a Foot Each Year
Baby Gators are Born With Teeth
Temperature Determines Whether a Gator is Born a Boy or Girl
Gators are Air Breathers
So, Do Alligators Eat Tourists?
Never Disturb, Feed or Approach Gators Especially if They're Babies
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
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.