Chances are that you have heard about alligator attacks in Florida. The frequency and number of unprovoked serious alligator bites in Florida is really rare.
Below are some things you should know from the wildlife experts regarding Florida alligators.
There are over a million gators who live in Florida even though they’re listed as being endangered since they look a lot like the American crocodile, which is endangered.
Both alligators and crocodiles came from dinosaurs and it’s believed that alligators have remained unchanged for the most part for over 35 million years.
The Hazardous Waters
Alligators are able to be found both in brackish and fresh waters, including rivers, canals, ponds on golf courses and lakes. There’s over 6 million acres that are suitable for alligators across the state. Bites from alligators usually occur around or in water, since alligators can’t capture their prey on land very well.
Even though that’s really comforting to people who live states such as Arizona, there are lots of rivers and marshes in Florida, particularly in the southern section of Florida where the Everglades are. As development is pushing the humans deeper into Florida’s wilderness, chances are good that more people are going to have contact with alligators.
Alligators are known as opportunistic feeders and they’re going to eat just about anything that they can easily overpower and that’s available. It’s not legal to feed the wild alligators since that will cause them to stop fearing humans. Even though alligators will lunge at prey that are close to the shoreline, there isn’t any evidence that alligators will chase after animals or human out of the water.
The diet of the gator includes abundant and easily accessible prey species. The juveniles mostly eat small fish, amphibians, insects and other kinds of invertebrates. Adults will eat snakes, rough fish, turtles, birds and small mammals.
Parts of the alligator such as the hide and meat are sold from alligators that are legally harvested. Back in 2014, the meat and hide from these gators had a net worth of $6.8 million.
There’s been a yearly harvest since back in 1988, and it’s an internationally and nationally recognized program for sustainable use of the natural resource. In the year 2014, there were over 7,000 alligators harvested in the program.
ATTACKS ARE RARE
There’s been 23 wild alligator fatalities since 1973, and there have been 383 unprovoked bites that weren’t caused by someone intentionally harassing or handling an alligator. There are approximately 7 serious bites a year that are unprovoked, and the odds that someone will be seriously injured due to an alligator that’s unprovoked is about 1 in about 2.4 million.
What to Do
According to Jack Hanna, to avoid an attack from an alligator is to just give it ample room. For around 20 feet, according to Hanna, alligators can outrun humans. So you want to make sure that there’s a minimum of 40 – 50 feet from any hazard that can potentially harbor alligators or if you see an alligator put that much distance in between you and the creature. This will help you avoid potential bites.
If you’re bitten by an alligator, make sure you fight back. Kick or hit it or even give it a poke in the eyes. Alligators are going to retreat from anything they’re unable to easily overwhelm.
These are the things to remember when you are visiting Florida. Yes there are alligators there and you may see one. But if you give them enough room and you are smart, then you can avoid any types of confrontations with them.
Planning a Trip to Florida?
After seeing Florida’s alligators, return to the beauty and comfort of a home from Naples Florida Vacation Homes. We have a wide selection of homes located all over the Naples area. Whether you’re hoping to squeeze in a few rounds of golf during your visit or you’d like to relax by a private pool, you’ll find the perfect home to fit your needs.
Check out our rentals and book today! We look forward to having you.