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Killer Alligators

Updated on June 17, 2016
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Alligators - Not What I'd Chose for a Backyard Pet

I was apprehensive about alligators when I first moved to Florida. After learning more about them, my fears were calmed. I grew used to seeing one cruise past in the lake behind my home or to spot one sunning itself on the golf course. Although I kept a respectful distance, I admit to being rather nonchalant about the presence of this toothy giant reptile.

Then in just a few months, a number of Florida residents were attacked and killed by alligators. That led me to study further about how common was it for an alligator to attack a human.

(alligator in my backyard - photo I took with my Canon SX20 IS)

Golfers - Use Caution around Alligators

I took this photo for a golfing friend who wanted to show it to his buddies up north. An alligator this size almost never attacks a full-grown human, so this golfer was fairly safe.
I took this photo for a golfing friend who wanted to show it to his buddies up north. An alligator this size almost never attacks a full-grown human, so this golfer was fairly safe. | Source

A Cautionary Tale

We played golf with someone recently who told us a scary story. In a previous round, he had hit his ball into the water near an alligator. Thinking he could fish it out with his long ball retriever, he approached and reached towards the ball with the retriever while keeping an eye on the adjacent alligator. This was his first mistake, as most alligators will dive into the water as you approach and take off. This one didn't. That should have been a warning to him.

Instead, the alligator grabbed the end of the ball retriever in its mouth. For some silly reason, the golfer pulled on the long stick hoping the gator would let go. They played tug-of-war for a few seconds. Off to the side, the golfer's wife was yelling at him to drop the stick and get back. At that point, the alligator started towards the man. Both were still holding on to opposite ends of the ball retriever. He said the alligator was sort of growling by now.

Realizing that this wasn't going the way he expected, the man started backing up. In his haste, he tripped and fell. The alligator was still advancing. Fortunately for the golfer, his wife stomped on the gas pedal of the golf cart heading it towards the gator. That was enough to cause the creature to turn and head for the lake.

The moral of this story is pretty obvious to me. Let the alligator keep the ball, and the golfer can drop a new one from a safe distance. It's actually in the golfing rules that you don't have to take a penalty stroke under such circumstances.

A Sampling of Sites Where a Person Was Killed by an Alligator

show route and directions
A marker2007 -
savannah, GA
get directions

B marker2006 -
oldsmar FL
get directions

C marker2006 -
shunrise fl
get directions

D marker2005 -
port charlotte fl
get directions

E markerOrlando, Florida 2016 -
Orlando, FL, USA
get directions

Toddler killed by an alligator at a Disney resort.

Tourists - Be Aware Anytime You Are Near Water

Any body of water in Florida provides a place for alligators to hang out. They also take a stroll now and then from one lake to another. Usually, they hustle into the safety of the water when a human approaches.

The most dangerous alligators are the very large ones, over 8 feet in length. They display little fear of adult humans and certainly regard pets and small children as prey.

It is against the law to feed alligators, as that increases the likelihood that they will lose their fear of people. Once that happens, they become an increasing danger to humans and must be killed.

This apparently was a factor in the June 2016 death of a toddler at a resort in Orlando, Florida. Guests at the resort found it amusing to toss food to alligators in the resort's scenic lake. A family from Nebraska with two young children did not realize the danger and were near the lake when an alligator pulled the toddler into the water causing the boy to drown. The father was unable to pull the child from the alligator's strong grip.

An Alligator Walking Across the Golf Course in Florida

Source

A Man Lost His Arm in this Alligator Attack

I remember when this happened and followed the accounts in the Orlando Sentinel. The victim was high on crack cocaine and waded into a large urban lake at night. Residents nearby heard his screams and called police who managed to rescue him from the alligator. He lost his arm and had other serious bites.

YouTube Video - Alligator Attack

Recent Alligator Attacks in the United States

Date of Attack
Location
Person Attacked
Results
6 Sept 2014
Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana
12 year old boy
Survived, 50 stitches in leg
2013
Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge in Boynton Beach, FL
6 year old boy
Rescued by father, minor injuries
2010
Naples FL in a canal
18 year old man
Alligator bit off his hand
June 2016
Orlando, Florida Disney resort
2 year old boy
Pulled into lake & drowned

Funny, But We Must Take Alligators Seriously

Photo of a t-shirt from Gatorland. "Send more tourists" says the hungry alligator.
Photo of a t-shirt from Gatorland. "Send more tourists" says the hungry alligator. | Source

Oldest Person Killed by an Alligator in the U.S.

an 83 year old woman

Caution

Youngest Person Killed by an Alligator in the U.S.

a 16 month old boy

Don't Do This

Dumb Things People Do with Alligators - and crocodiles

*Two of these are professional performers who work with alligators or crocodiles.

* In the case of the teenager who lost his arm, he was swimming across an irrigation canal in Florida. Not something I would do.

* In the fourth video, the men are in kayaks and tossing food to an alligator in Illinois. Obviously this is an ex-pet alligator to be in that locale. Alligators that have been fed by humans lose their fear and are more likely to attack.

* In the fifth video, the man works for an alligator farm and is collecting eggs from a nest. Afterwards he provokes the alligator by repeatedly crowding it with his boat. Foolish behavior.

A Sign Warning Golfers Not to Annoy the Alligators

Source

This Attack Is a Crocodile But the Death Roll Is Used by Both Crocs and Gators

No Joke - Alligators Are Not to Be Fooled With

Graphic on a t-shirt at Gatorland in Kissimmee, Florida.
Graphic on a t-shirt at Gatorland in Kissimmee, Florida. | Source

Alligator Attack in Louisiana

Warning

Florida Alligator Sign (used with permission from CE Wallace)

Florida Alligator Sign (used with permission from CE Wallace)
Florida Alligator Sign (used with permission from CE Wallace)
Source

Zazzle graphic: alligators Can't Read Sign 1 by rickubis

News Report on Man Killed by Alligator - in Miami-Dade Florida Area

People Come from Many Places - to see this page

flag map added May 16, 2012
flag map added May 16, 2012 | Source

© 2009 Virginia Allain

Can You Outrun an Alligator?

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    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I have always been scared of Alligators. My sister's son and his family live on the SC coast and they see them daily right in their back yard.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 3 years ago from Canada

      They would scare the heck out of me. Any creature with a jaw that clamps with that much pressure is enough to send me running. I certainly would be wary having them in my backyard.

    • Virginia Allain profile image
      Author

      Virginia Allain 3 years ago from Central Florida

      @SusannaDuffy: Susanna, that's terrible about the person you knew. Fortunately alligator attacks are fairly rare. Most will avoid humans.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 3 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      We have crocodiles in Australia and they can run pretty damn fast! I knew a woman who was eaten by one

    • profile image

      Joan4 4 years ago

      We love to watch the alligators in the lagoons at Seabrook Island, SC, but I totally agree with you -- safety is the priority. My favorite place to watch them is from a screened porch!

    • Virginia Allain profile image
      Author

      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      @grannysage: Most of the alligators head for the lake as soon as they see me. The bigger ones don't and I stay well away from them.

    • profile image

      grannysage 4 years ago

      When we stayed at a campground at Okatibbe Lake in Mississippi, there was a sign warning of alligators. I was almost as scared as I am about snakes. I was so glad when we left that part of the country.

    • ngio64 profile image

      ngio64 4 years ago

      I live in Florida and we were at a birthday party for a 7 year old. Someone came and said they were catching an alligator 2 blocks away. Everyone went to watch. the gator was caught when we got there. The kids got a close look at it. It was too large to relocate so the alligator guy was going to "harvest it" for the meat and skin. That is how the nuisance alligator catchers get paid. Nothing for gators under 5 feet, allowed to sell the meat and skin of the larger ones. They do not charge the public or get state dollars.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 4 years ago from Royalton

      Having lived within walking distance from the Everglades I too calmed down from my initial fear of alligators but after reading this lens, I am glad to be back home in Vermont. No fear of alligators here. :)

    • biminibahamas profile image

      biminibahamas 4 years ago

      They sure can't read signs and they really do cross the roads to get to the other side!

    • profile image

      Terrie_Schultz 4 years ago

      Glad I don't live in Florida!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I love it: Alligators can't read. Doh! I would steer clear of these guys for sure.

    • thooghun lm profile image

      thooghun lm 5 years ago

      I'm officially creeped out by crocs. Urgh. Cute though!

    • Cinnamonbite profile image

      Cinnamonbite 5 years ago

      Yeah. Ain't nuthin' like canoeing on Lake Jesup to make you respect a gator. Especially when you see one take a wild boar off the shoreline a few feet from you.

    • NHgal LM profile image

      NHgal LM 5 years ago

      Took me three trips to FL in the 80's to see my first alligator. Since them I've seen many of them in FL while out kayaking. We're usually disappointed if we don't see one then. But we're cautious. We have a friend who lost his arm to an alligator when swimming in a FL lake 30 years ago. Nice lens about them.

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 5 years ago

      Gripping lens - thanks. I don't have 'gators round here and you can keep 'em. I wouldn't want to have to test the theory but I believe they have weak muscles to open the jaw, so the trick is apparently to keep an attacking alligator's mouth shut!

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 5 years ago

      I certainly wouldn't approach or try to fight with one. It must be horrible to be attacked by one.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 7 years ago from USA

      I agree they are interesting but keep 'em out of my backyard! :)

    • aidenw profile image

      aidenw 7 years ago from USA

      I like alligators. They are fascinating animals. We have some here in Texas but not nearly as many as you do in Florida. It's amazing that you have one in your backyard.

    • profile image

      Ilovemusicgirl 7 years ago

      Nice one, gators are very interesting

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 7 years ago from Iowa

      Another great lens. 5* Sad that people make out the animals as bad or evil though. They are what they are.

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 7 years ago from Australia

      Yikes! And you have one of these lovelies in your backyard?! Great lens.

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