top of page

How To Survive A Florida Alligator Attack

How To Survive A Florida Alligator Attack

How To Survive A Florida Alligator Attack

Imagine you’re enjoying a sunny day by a Florida lake when suddenly, you find yourself staring into the eyes of an alligator. It sounds like a scene from a movie, but it’s a possibility if you’re wandering around Florida's waterways. Here’s what you should do if you ever find yourself in this unexpected situation.

First things first: stay calm. I know, it's not easy when you’re looking at an alligator, but it's crucial. Alligators often want less to do with us than we do with them. They’re not likely to attack unless provoked. So, take a deep breath and focus on your next steps.

Never approach an alligator. It’s not only unsafe, but it's also illegal in Florida to feed them. This can make them associate humans with food, which alters their natural behavior and makes them a greater danger to people. Always keep a safe distance. If you find yourself unexpectedly close, don’t run or make sudden movements. This could trigger the alligator’s instinct to chase.

How To Survive A Florida Alligator Attack

If the alligator seems non-aggressive and you’re close, start backing away slowly. Make sure you keep your eyes on the animal as you move. Running could make you seem like prey, and that’s the last thing you want. If the alligator begins to follow you, stop moving back. Sometimes, maintaining your ground briefly can discourage further pursuit.

If an alligator comes closer than comfort allows, try to make yourself look bigger and be louder. Raise your arms to increase your apparent size. Make noise by shouting; it can discourage the alligator from coming closer. This tactic works with many animals as it signals that you are not prey and might be a threat.

If there’s anything nearby that you can put between you and the alligator, use it. A backpack, a tree, or even a bike can serve as a barrier. This might not stop a determined alligator, but it can give you extra seconds to move away safely.

If the situation feels unsafe or if you see an alligator in a populated area, call for help. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) or local law enforcement can handle the situation more safely and are trained to deal with wildlife.

Sourced: Insider Tech

Alligator attacks are rare, but they do happen. If you are attacked, fight back vigorously. Go for the eyes and snout, which are sensitive areas. Shout and make as much noise as possible. Fighting back increases your chances of stopping the attack and can drive the alligator away.

The best way to handle an encounter with an alligator is to prevent it from happening. Pay attention to signs warning of alligators, especially in Florida where they are common. Avoid swimming in waters that are known habitats. Keep pets and children close to you and out of the water when you are in areas where alligators might live.

The American alligator is a large aquatic reptile and one of two crocodilians native to Florida. They can be distinguished from the American crocodile by their head shape and color. Alligators have a broad, rounded snout and their jaws close in such a way that no lower teeth are visible. Their bodies are mostly dark gray with a lighter underside. Juveniles have light-colored stripes for camouflage. Despite the common misconception, alligators are not naturally green; the coloration often comes from algae and vegetation sticking to their backs.

How To Survive A Florida Alligator Attack
FWC / Courtesy of US Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program.

Alligators can be found from the southeastern U.S., ranging from Oklahoma and Texas in the west to North Carolina and Florida in the east. They prefer freshwater lakes, slow-moving rivers, and wetlands, though they are occasionally found in brackish water environments.

Alligators are opportunistic feeders that eat a diet depending on what's available. Juveniles feed on insects, small fish, and amphibians, while adults will eat fish, snakes, turtles, small mammals, and birds. They are most active at temperatures between 82° to 92°F and go dormant when it's colder.

Seeing an alligator up close can be an unnerving experience, but remembering these tips can help you stay safe. Respect their space, understand their behavior, and act confidently and calmly should you ever find yourself in a face-to-face encounter. Coexisting with wildlife, even alligators, is part of the beauty and challenge of being in such biodiverse places as Florida.

The American alligator is Federally protected by the Endangered Species Act as a Threatened species, due to their similarity of appearance to the American crocodile, and as a Federally-designated Threatened species by Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Rule.



bottom of page