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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
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
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
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
6 Sept 2014
Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana
12 year old boy
Survived, 50 stitches in leg
Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge in Boynton Beach, FL
6 year old boy
Rescued by father, minor injuries
Naples FL in a canal
18 year old man
Alligator bit off his hand
Orlando, Florida Disney resort
2 year old boy
Pulled into lake & drowned
Funny, But We Must Take Alligators Seriously
Oldest Person Killed by an Alligator in the U.S.
an 83 year old woman
- Sheriff Report: Toddler drowned after alligator attack - Orlando Sentinel
After a 16-hour search for the 2-year-old boy dragged into a lake at Disney by an alligator, divers with the Orange County Sheriff's Office Wednesday found the toddler's body.
- List of fatal alligator attacks in the United States by decade - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This is a list of fatal alligator attacks that occurred in the United States in reverse chronological order by decade
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
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
Alligator Attack in Louisiana
Florida Alligator Sign (used with permission from CE Wallace)
Alligator Attacks Can Be Avoided
- How to Avoid an Alligator Attack | eHow.com
Alligators are indigenous to warm, tropical, swampy climates. Although fatal attacks on humans are rare, you should know how to keep yourself safe from attack if you venture into these climes. Follow the tips on this site to stay safe.
- Matt Hansen: Photographing the American Alligator
Get some tips for photographing alligators safely.
- Florida Alligator Laws | eHow.com
Alligators are a fact of life for people living in Florida due to the favorable environment for the reptiles. They live anywhere that there is water and, though they keep mainly to the lakes, ponds, rivers and swamps, you may also encounter them in s
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
© 2009 Virginia Allain