What Are The Odds of Being Bitten By an Alligator?
Florida has the highest number of alligators in all of the United States of America. In that state your odds of actually being bit by an alligator are 1 in 24,000,000. In that same state your odds of winning the lottery are actually 1 in 23,000,000. So if you are fearful of alligators I advise you to go by a lottery ticket, because your chances of winning the lottery are better than your chances of being mauled by an alligator! You have more of a chance in the southeast of having any of the following happen around you, than you do of being attacked by the local predator:
- Car accident
- Dog Attack
- Cat attack
- Plane Crash
- Lightening Strike
- Winning the Lottery
- Choking on McDonalds
- Being swarmed by Mosquitoes
So the next time you hear an alligator story on the news, just remember the media doesn't report every single thing to you!
American Alligator Myths
So to set the record straight I will clear up some myths about American Alligators.
- Myth - They grow enormous and get over 20 feet long. Fact - The largest ever was 19 feet, but normally they top out around 13 feet.
- Myth - Alligators chase people. Fact - Alligators typically only chase people who have posed a threat to them or their young.
- Myth - Alligators live for over a hundred years. Fact - They don't usually live over 50.
- Myth - Alligators are poor climbers. Fact - Young alligators climb very well, and large alligators have been known to climb fences while seeking out water.
- Myth - Alligators have bad eyesight. Fact - They see great, and the only thing they can't see is directly behind themselves.
American alligators are native to the south eastern parts of the United States. If found outside of that area they are likely pets that have been released. Males can grow as long as 15 feet and females can get upwards of 10 feet. They have a life span of thirty to fifty years!
Alligators are found in freshwater. Alligators can be found in Lakes, marshes, swamps, rivers, and even golf course and neighborhood ponds in the south eastern region.
A mother alligator can lay between 20 and 50 eggs. That sounds like a lot, but only somewhere between 1% and 10% will make it to adulthood.
What States Allow Alligator Hunting?
- South Carolina
Though these states do allow alligator hunting, each state has different rules and regulations you must follow. You must complete an alligator hunting safely class in most of these states. In Florida it can cost you over $1000 if you are picked using their lottery system to get an alligator hunting permit. That doesn't include guide fees. So if you are considering travel to any of these states please check with the state to determine local laws.
5 Alligator Safety Tips
While the threat of being attacked by an alligator are minimal, there are some things we can do to lower those chances even more! Most are common sense, though it doesn't seem sense is so common anymore.
- NEVER feed an alligator! In heavily populated areas many will find it amusing to toss food to alligators. This is like feeding a stray cat. The alligators will keep coming back for more food, and will keep getting closer and closer to the humans.
- NEVER attempt to pick up a baby alligator! Alligator mothers will raise their young for 6 months to 3 years! So that baby that looks oh so cute is likely to have a mother watching her!
- Never leave your dog or child unattended near water! If your home is built on the banks of water install a fence that can not be climbed by alligators. Do not move to a river front house, and expect your children and pets to be safe from alligators without preparing your yard.
- If you are being chased by an alligator, DO NOT RUN IN A ZIG ZAG MOTION! This is a myth. Humans run up to 15 miles per hour and alligators top out at about 10 miles per hour. They are also slowed down by hills, rocks, shrubs, and trees more than we are because of their short legs. If you are being chased run as fast as you can in a straight line. Usually if they are chasing you it is not with the intent to eat you, but usually to scare you away from their nest. They give up after a short run!
- If for some reason you are actually attacked by an alligator fight back! Your life depends on it! Alligators are lazy creatures! If you fight back hard enough the alligator very well may let go because you require too much work to eat!
Why I am Against Hunting Alligators and Homeowners Whining About Alligators Eating Their Dogs!
I grew up near the coast of South Carolina in a nice (and what use to be small) city called Goose Creek. In the low country of South Carolina it is common to see alligators in the fresh water during the warmer months. We all grew up fishing and swimming in the same water the alligators live in with almost no thought of what we were sharing that water with. Most people from that area know that there is no real threat to humans. I grew up going fishing on the boat and seeing alligators all day while out. These creatures will usually get away from you a lot quicker than you get away from them. I moved away from the coast at about 18 and ended up in the upstate of South Carolina where there are no alligators. So every summer I make at least one trip to my hometown and drive to the local lakes and rivers to get whatever pictures I can of them. My children look forward to seeing these creatures that are so foreign to them.
Unfortunately a couple years ago South Carolina decided that the low country was over populated with alligators and started allowing hunting. My issue with this is simply who gets to decide they are over populated. I would say if anything was over populated it would be the people! How can you move onto a river front home, know there are alligators, not put a fence up, and then complain because your dog became dinner? If you loved your dog so much wouldn't you have put a fence up? The banks of the rivers and ponds are over populated with entitled people who believe it is okay to take over this land and demand that the natural animals be removed. Why move there then? These rivers and lakes have been the homes of these alligators for longer than people have been using them. I believe something needs to be done about the ignorance of these people. These are the same people who signed petitions to make it legal to hunt them. This land belongs to the animals not to people! If someone chooses to move onto that property they owe it to the environment and themselves to use common sense in preparing their yards for the safety of their family.
Maybe I am a tree huger or in this case an animal huger. Maybe I just can't wrap my brain around why people are obsessed with killing animals (that usually aren't being eaten). Maybe I just don't understand how someone gets a thrill out of taking a life. Maybe it's just me.
Maybe I just worry that something I have shared with my kids will be gone by the time my children have children.
peachy from Home Sweet Home on February 11, 2015:
hunters should not hunt down crocs or alligators, we should protect them
Peeples (author) from South Carolina on June 27, 2014:
When I was a kid we didn't have a pool. So it was swim in the lakes and rivers or go to the beach. The river was closer and I've always been less afraid of gators vs. sharks! @LTM I love the cat! @Brave 100% agreement! Thanks for the comments!
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on June 27, 2014:
I agree with you, Peeples. This is their land. We humans are encroaching on their territory. Construction shouldn't be allowed that close to their habitat if you ask me. I'd retaliate, too if someone decided to camp out on my property and take my land!
LongTimeMother from Australia on June 26, 2014:
I'm still laughing at the video with the cat. :)
Suzie from Carson City on June 26, 2014:
peeples! For REAL?! Honestly? You SWAM with them???!! OMG.....I must be a total YANKEE. We just don't have them, see them or need to be concerned......but I do read a lot and also watch the Animal channel....and all that crap about wild creatures.
I can tell you very sincerely......If I EVER came within a football field of one, I'd pass the HELL right out! and oh yes...I don't react well to snakes, spiders, big frogs, coyote, llamas, pigs, turkey, bees, wasps, ......ok......you name it. If it isn't a dog or cat.....I'LL BE IN THE HOUSE...ON A TABLE..OR UNDER A BED......Thank you very much.
You SWAM with them???!!! Jesus, honey....just the thought has my heart racing!
Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on June 26, 2014:
Up, Useful, and Interesting. Thanks for the facts and the common sense advice about alligators.
Peeples (author) from South Carolina on June 26, 2014:
I use to swim with them when I was a child like it was no big deal, now as an adult my kids ask if they can get in the water when we go down there and I always reply "No there's alligators in there". Lol I certainly understand though I do enjoy watching them. Miz I agree, I think some people feel better about themselves by killing other things. I just don't get it! Thanks y'all for commenting!
Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on June 26, 2014:
Well said! Alligators are frequently seen in North Arkansas, and we do have a hunting season on them. Some sad people will kill anything the law allows. When I was a child, a local five and dime store actually sold them as pets, and that is probably where these came from.
Suzie from Carson City on June 26, 2014:
BIG FAT DITTO...to Bill's response!!
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 26, 2014:
I'm against hunting these animals. I'm also against me personally living near them. LOL Interesting facts for sure, things I did not know about alligators...I still don't want to live where they live. :)