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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.

 

 

2. Never approach an alligator,

including a baby or a nest.

 

The alligator is naturally wary of humans, and will flee quickly if you get too close to it, or it may utter a very audible and compelling warning hiss. In some cases, however, alligators may charge or attack. Here are some examples of such cases:

 

• An alligator that is accustomed to being fed by humans may not be so shy, but instead is attracted to your presence. This condition is vey rare in the wild.

 

• An alligator that is surprised and alarmed by your approach may attack, thinking that it is being attacked itself.

 

• A mother alligator caring for her nest or for live babies, as seen in the image below. If you see alligator babies, or if you encounter a nest (a usually a mound of vegetation mixed with mud), enjoy the experience from a safe distance...momma 'gator is sure to be close by. If you get close, the mother may sound a very audible and intimidating warning hiss. Such a nest may be difficult to identify for a non-expert, but it is likely the mother will issue you a warning.

A mother alligator with her babies.

(Image N. B.)

 

The alligator mother is well-known to be practically fearless when defending her offspring, whether the little ones have hatched or not. A mother was observed leaping, jaws agape, to attack a helicopter as it approached the nest area to land! (The helicopter was carrying biologists surveying alligator nests.) You may learn more about the mothers care of her babies in the "Neonate Care" section.

 

Also be careful near heavy vegetation in or near the water's edge. This is where an alligator likes to enjoy privacy and peace during the daylight hours. If you trudge through there and surprise it, the outcome may not be positive; consider making a little noise, such as rattling a set of keys.

 

Generally, a good minimum land distance to keep between you and an alligator or nest is 15 feet/ 4.6 meters.

 

Did You Know? Most human attack victims are male - a whopping 84%.

 

Some adventurous individuals believe that they can grapple with smaller gators without risk of serious injury -- and they are quite mistaken. A smaller alligator, even 5 ft/1.5 m long, may remove a limb, let alone a finger, and resulting lacerations alone can keep a surgeon busy for hours in an operating room.

 

An alligator basking, jaws agape.An alligator will often lay on land with jaws agape, and seldom is this a sign of imminent attack, especially if it is far from you. In doing this, it is believed, the reptile is merely trying to regulate its body temperature by letting heat escape its body, sort of like the panting of a dog. Generally, this is not a behavior to be wary of (learn more about this behavior in the "Thermoregulation" section..

 

 

 

 

(Image: istockphoto/PaulMerritt)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* 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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