Sunday, June 19, 2016

Expert advice on how to survive an alligator attack

It's too bad they can't find out if a specific alligator killed the child w/o killing the alligator. If they could kill only alligators (or other animals) that killed a human, the ones that were left would be those which avoid killing us, and would pass this wariness of humans on to their descendants.

By Amy Kraft CBS News June 16, 2016, 5:03 PM

"Alligator incidents involving people are fairly uncommon and it's usually a case of mistaken identity," Jim Darlington, curator of reptiles at St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in Florida, told CBS News. "If someone is splashing in cloudy water the animals can't see what's disturbing the water so sometimes they bite first and ask questions later."

The nocturnal reptiles will eat mostly anything they can capture including fish, turtles, frogs, birds and small mammals like rabbits and raccoons.


Wildlife experts agree that people should never approach an alligator or attempt to feed it. It is against the law in Florida to feed alligators; feeding them has the effect of making them less afraid of humans.

Also, avoid swimming in fresh bodies of water from dusk to dawn because gators are most active during these times of day. And always remain close to children whenever they are near open water.

If you find yourself face-to-face with a gator, however, Darlington offers some tips on what to do:


Humans, on average, can outrun gators on land. "They are not made for running after prey," Darlington said. You should be fine once you are 20 or 30 feet from the reptile and Darlington said it is safe to take pictures or observe the animal from a distance.


Gators are designed for grabbing things that don't want to be grabbed, but if you put up a big enough struggle, Darlington is confident that the gator will retreat. "Your size is what saves you from these things," he said. "They don't like people."

When asked if it would help to punch the gator in the snout or the eyes, Darlington said that was "malarkey" and doubts that anyone would be so coordinated during a gator attack.


Alligators generally try to avoid people. The thinking goes that the more ruckus you make, the less likely gators are to come nearby. "If there's a lot of human activity, gators like to stay offshore and stay away," Darlington told CBS News.

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