Written by Martel Jaimes
“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.” Mahatma Gandhi
The proverb above may have a different meaning but according to what a Florida alligator expert says, if you are already a target of an alligator and you are likely to become it’s meal, fight like your life depends on it because it surely does. The ultimate weapon you will have is your will to survive.
This is the main advice of Frank Mazzotti from University of Florida’s Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, a wildlife ecology and conservation professor and an expert in gators.
“Unprovoked” alligator attacks are very rare as per Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation. It’s roughly one in 2.4 million. One of the reported alligator attacks recently was when a tour boat captain allegedly fed the alligator illegally and it bit off his hand.
If you are the “lucky one” of 2.4 million chances of encountering an alligator, you might want to remember these reminders below. Most importantly, don’t feed it. You don’t want to know if the gator you’ll feed is smart enough to know if he’s munching the food you are giving him or if it’s your whole arm already!
Common sense dictates that if there’s danger, avoid it above all else. When you think you’re in a gator’s territory, avoid the thought of swimming or going anywhere near it. These are territorial animals and they don’t usually welcome guests, especially when they are hungry.
When you are on land and can no longer avoid an alligator and if you think you got it upset, running in a straight line like it will be your last will be your best chance of survival. This is one of Mazzotti’s advice. He also strongly disagree about the myths or hearsay that running in a zigzag line will save you because gators can only run fasts in short distances. So if you are a fast runner that might save your life!
Last but not the least, fight! If you can no longer avoid the gator and its going to be a fight for your life, then don’t hesitate to give all you’ve got. Alligators have thick skin so it’s best for you to target their eyes.