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An Alligator Safety Guide

 

An alligator shares a footpath with humans.SAFETY TIPS

By the Dozen*

 

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1.Be aware on, in or near water. 2. Never approach an alligator.
3. Be extra aware during
the warmer seasons.
4. Never feed or entice an alligator.
5. Report illegal feeding or enticing. 6. Contact authorities if you suspect
a threatening alligator.
7. Create a barrier on your property. 8. If charged, run away
in a straight line.
9. If attacked, fight back. 10. If bitten, seek medical attention.
11. Never take one from the wild. 12. Share your knowledge.

 

Images are by the author unless otherwise indicated.

1. Be aware on, in or near water.

 

Never let children or pets near the water without close supervision.

 

Alligators are opportunistic hunters. They prefer to wait for prey to get close, and lunge to seize it. Adults and children alike should be very aware of their surroundings near the water's edge; that embankment area of a water body, where land meets liquid, is often covered in vegetation in which the 'gator can hide, making it the reptile's favorite lurking place. And remember: the smaller the potential 'prey,' such as child or a pet, the more attractive to the alligator simply because it is easier to take.

 

Avoid swimming in a water body known to be inhabited by alligators.

 

You already know this -- it doesn't take a scientist to figure this one out. Many municipalities orAn alligator warning sign. residential developments post warning signs, but the absence of such a sign doesn't mean there are no alligators. Bear in mind that most water bodies in alligator states contain them.

 

In the water, you look much smaller to an alligator, even if you happen to be 6 ft 4 in/1.9m tall while walking upright on land. The 'gator may not think of taking a tall man as a meal while that human is standing on the water's edge, but being in the water puts the man in the alligator's watery hunting field, where the he appears smaller on a liquid plane, and where the reptile has the advantage. Statistics show that the average age of an attack victim is 34 years.

 

Youth jumping into water from a boat.Usually, the safest swimming areas are in frequented, supervised parks, where lots of cars parking and humans talking, shouting and splashing tend to ward off the alligators. Even if you swim in areas that are known to be generally 'gator-free, never swim alone. Should an attack occur and you have a buddy to help you, your chance of escaping is much greater. Swim only within posted swimming areas; venturing beyond that you enter deeper into the realm of the alligator, and away from potential safety or help.

(Image: istockphoto/LUGO)

 

Did You Know? 90% of attacks occur on persons wading or swimming at water's edge (this is where the alligator is apt to lunge at prey that approach the water).

 

Also, never enter water at night. Alligators are most active, especially for seeking prey, from dusk until dawn. And the fact that you can't see well in the dark makes for a much more dangerous situation.

 

Sunset at a southern Florida marsh.Finally, avoid consuming alcohol when enjoying the water, even in daytime. Evidence in some Florida alligator attack incidents, as well as some of those involving the crocodiles in Australia, shows that the victims were under the influence of alcohol, or worse, crack cocaine. You need your wits about you when swimming to avoid drowning, let alone being wary of alligators. So, don't drink and dive.

 

Do you have a water body on your property? If so, there is a way in which you may be able to determine if there is an alligator living in it, even if you don't normally see one, though this method is not perfect: Carefully approach the water body at night with a flashlight. Hold the light near your face at eye level, directing the light at the water. Then slowly and carefully scan the surface for reflections of an alligator's eye. The alligator eye reflects an orange "glow" when illuminated. A photo of this kind of reflection is shown at left. Note that the image was captured at dawn or dusk, so the reflection is not as intense as it would be in the dark of night. Learn more about this glow on this site's page dealing with the alligator's body features, "Anatomy & Physiology".

 

An alligaotr's eye shine as it relfects light.Always be careful near a body of water (as discussed above) as an alligator, if present, may be on or near the bank. Also, when scanning for eyeshine, bear in mind that an alligator may be underwater or otherwise obscured at the moment you scan a given area, so this method is not perfect; you may need to try many scans at different times, Also, consider that you may detect the "eyeshine" of different small animals, which should not be mistaken for 'gators.

 

(Image: ©istockphoto/LarryLynch)

 

 

 

 

 

* LEGAL NOTICE: This safety information is offered as general information only, and the Owner and Author of this website, his/its affiliates, associates, agents, and advertisers assume no liability in connection with this advice and/or its observance. Every situation with its myriad of factors is unique and impossible to predict, even by an expert. The consideration of the information presented here and from other reliable sources, along with the exercise of good sense and judgment, can go a long way to helping you stay safe. Furthermore, the Owner and Author of this website does not provide legal consultation. To obtain legal advice, consult a qualified attorney.  Any information provided, and/or offers made on this website, are void where prohibited by law. Please refer to this website's Terms of Service for more detailed information.

 

 

 

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