How To Survive An Alligator Attack

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Alligator attacks don’t happen often, but when they do, they can be fatal. According to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission, there have been 23 fatal alligator attacks since 1973. So, what should you do if you find yourself face-to-face with one of these apex predators?  In the above video wildlife expert Corbin Maxey, who owns two alligators, tells us that even though alligators can get aggressive, they are likely to leave you alone as long as you don’t disturb them. He has some simple instructions for what to do if something goes wrong.

What to Do When You See an Alligator

On the surface, modern alligators might not seem as impressive as the giants they once walked among. That doesn’t mean these guys aren’t any less dangerous. In Florida alone, seven to ten people fall prey to alligator attacks every year. About six percent of these attacks prove fatal.

That begs the question of what to do if a gator starts to think you look tasty. If you encounter a gator on dry land, the first step is to run. By the way, alligators are surprisingly fast but don’t have very much in the way of endurance. They’ll usually get tired and give up quickly. But what if one manages to catch you by surprise?


  • Alligators are ambush predators that prefer surprise attacks from underwater to lengthy overland chases.
  • An American alligator can slam its jaws shut with almost three thousand pounds of force, triple that of a lion or tiger.
  • Attacks like this are very rare, but those who fall prey to them can be seriously injured, or even lose their life.
  • The more you struggle and the harder you resist, the less appetizing you become. Become enough of a hassle, and the alligator will decide you aren’t worth the effort.
  • You might be tempted to try pulling open the gator’s mouth, but experts agree that’s exactly the wrong thing to do.
  • The biggest one is the gator’s snout. Nobody likes getting kicked in the nose, and alligators are no exception.
  • If you can’t get at the gators nose, poking it in the eye is a solid choice for plan B.
  • A third option is to attack what’s known as the palatal valve. This is a fleshy organ at the back of their tongue.
  • Regardless of which angle of attack you choose to employ, you need to be prepared to counter the alligator’s signature weapon: rolling.
  • When the animal starts to roll, your only option is to roll in the same direction.
  • Rolling is exhausting, so the alligator will need to rest for a few seconds after the maneuver. It’s not much, but during that brief window, you’ll have the upper hand.
  • Once you’ve gotten away, you’ll want to find medical attention ASAP.
  • Of the eight crocodile-like species known to attack humans, alligators are among the least aggressive.
  • The bad news is that crocodiles can grow much bigger than their American cousins, and are drastically more aggressive.
  • Responsible for more than one thousand fatalities every year, crocodiles are the tenth deadliest animals to humans.
  • So always remember, wherever you see a big scaly remnant of the dinosaurs, keep your distance.
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