How to Survive an Alligator Attack

How to Survive an Alligator Attack

How to Survive an Alligator Attack and make sure you don’t end up leaving an arm or leg behind. Just a little bit above the water’s surface, with two bright eyes. A thin, scaly backbone sneaks through the swamp. A large, round muzzle with a lot of sharp teeth. People are both scared of and interested in alligators, but contrary to what most people think, these ancient reptiles are not nearly as dangerous as they look.

Alligator attacks are rare but almost always end in tragedy when they do happen. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says that alligators have killed 23 people in Florida since 1973. So, what should you do if you run into one of these top predators?

Learn about the American Alligator.

We are often afraid of what we do not understand. And in terms of wild animals, alligators are widely misunderstood. Often portrayed as aggressive, dangerous man-eaters (a more accurate description of alligators’ cousins, crocodiles), gators are frequently the polar opposite: creatures who prefer to be left alone. They are carnivores, yet humans are not one of their favorite foods. They are also more defensive than aggressive. Therefore assaults on humans are pretty unusual. In fact, you’re more likely to drown if you’re near an alligator than to be bitten by one.

Even though Florida is home to over a million of these critters, the state averages only six alligator bite victims each year, and gators murdered only 26 people between 1948 and 2020, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission research. Nonetheless, these massive reptiles must be dealt with care. Be cautious if you’re in or near a region where alligators liveā€”and they’re common throughout the US’s coast from Texas to North Carolina. Alligators can live in fresh and salt water, and full-grown adults can grow 6 to 13 feet long (though the average is closer to 7 feet). The greater their size, the more damage they can do.

What Makes Alligators Frightened?

Alligators have an inherent fear of humans and will not attack unless they are frightened or hungry. They may also attack to defend their young or even their territory.

Alligators will rarely attack out of curiosity or anger. They may attack to kill and eat in times of food scarcity, so be extra cautious during times of drought and early in the spring as they emerge from their brumation (hibernation) period.

What Is The Best Way To Spot An Alligator In The Water?

As you might expect, the greatest method to survive an alligator attack is to avoid being attacked in the first place. If you can identify the alligator before entering the water, you may avoid needing to defend yourself afterwards. If alligators are present in your region, always thoroughly inspect any body of water you want to swim in. Alligators often hang around near or below the water’s surface, with only their backs, eyes, and snouts protruding.

Alligators in the water can move or remain immobile. Look for ripples in the water, especially if they appear to be traveling in a straight line, as this can signal the presence of an alligator. Keep an eye out for eyeballs or backs barely above or near the water’s surface. Alligators prefer to congregate in specific places of any body of water. Take extra precautions to avoid alligators:

  • If you spot alligators lazing on the coast, avoid entering the water. You may have to look closely because they could be partially buried in the water and quite still.
  • Alligators prefer to hang out in shallow water. Of course, you should also seek them in deeper water, but double-check any shallow locations before diving in.
  • If a pond or swamp has a lot of water plants growing in it, these locations can provide excellent cover for alligators. Before entering the water, thoroughly investigate all weedy or swampy regions.

What Should You Do If An Alligator Attacks You?

How to survive an alligator attack? Even if you follow all the necessary measures, you may be surprised by an alligator you did not spot before entering the water. Here are some suggestions from the University of Florida for surviving an alligator attack:

  • If an alligator approaches, swim in a straight line away from it, trying not to thrash around too much. Thrashing and zig-zagging will bring more attention to you and may encourage an alligator assault.
  • Fight back: If you can’t get away from the alligator in time, turn around and fight fiercely, knowing that your life may rely on it. Make yourself huge and intimidating, yell at the alligator, and begin pounding it.
  • Eyes punched, kicked, and poked: Concentrate on the alligator’s head and eyes. Poke it in the eyes and try to kick or punch it all over the head and face.
  • Stuff things into the alligator’s mouth: If you have a lifejacket or other flotation gear, try jamming it into the alligator’s mouth to keep it from biting you and to activate its gag reflex.
  • Get away from it: Take advantage of every opportunity to swim away from the alligator. Turn and swim toward the coast, keeping a straight line in mind.

How Do You Avoid Being Attacked By An Alligator?

Aside from protecting yourself, the best way is to avoid the attack altogether. Here are some reminders to prevent being attacked by an alligator.

Check Everything First

It cannot be overstated: if you can avoid going too close to alligators in the first place, do so. Never enter a body of water without first checking for alligators, and keep your eyes open while in the water.

Watch Out for Alligators

Stay out of the water and go to a safer position if you don’t see any alligators but hear them hissing or snarling.

Avoid Swimming in Areas that has Alligators

If you know there are alligators in a certain area, avoid swimming there. Even if you’ve never seen an alligator in those locations before, pay attention to local tales of alligator sightings in specific bodies of water.

Stay Very Still

If you’re in the water and see an alligator, stay as still as possible until it moves on, then get out quickly. If you can avoid calling attention to yourself, the gator will probably leave you alone.

Keep Calm

Do not be alarmed if you see alligators in the water with you. To keep still, you must think clearly and be prepared to fight back if required.

How Quickly Can An Alligator Swim?

Over short distances, alligators can swim at speeds of up to 3 miles per hour. World-class professional swimmers can occasionally attain speeds of 5 to 6 miles per hour, while most humans are significantly slower than that. Because alligators have sluggish metabolisms, they exhaust fast and cannot maintain their top pace for long. Still, 3 miles per hour is relatively fast, and if you don’t see them approaching, a short distance is sometimes all they need to launch an attack.

When an Alligator Attacks, What Noise Does it Make?

In general, alligators attack without making much noise. They love to stalk and sneak up on their prey, and they can swim rather softly. Of course, once the alligator attacks, there will be a lot of splashing and slapping of the water, and the alligator may hiss or snarl in pain. However, it will be too late to avoid the attack by this point since it will have already begun.

Alligators may hiss or growl before attacking, as these are their primary modes of communication. Again, listen to these sounds before entering the water. If you hear them while swimming, get out immediately. Attacking alligators will not make these noises since they try to sneak up on and startle their target (you). So, if you hear them, take them as a warning to get out of the water and to safety before an assault.


It is advisable to avoid getting attacked in the first place if you want to survive an assault by an alligator when you are in the water. If there are any signs of alligators in the area, you should avoid entering the water. If someone attacks you, you should fight back. You should try to cram objects into the alligator’s mouth, punch, kick, and poke its head and eyes, and then make a break for the beach as soon as a good opportunity presents itself to do so. If you liked this article check on How to survive a shark attack.

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