Wild Florida Blog

Wild Florida alligator handlers won't be running zigzag

Posted by Sam Haught on May 11, 2015 3:33:00 PM

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Each year, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission receives 16,000 complaints about alligators in Florida.

Most of those complaints center on Florida alligator sightings near lakes, creeks, and canals.

Although just about every county in Florida has alligators, only about five people a year are the victims of unprovoked alligator bites.

There are an estimated 1.3 million alligators in Florida - the second highest population in the U.S. Louisiana, with an estimated 2 million alligators, is first in the nation.

It wasn’t too long ago that alligators were nearly hunted into extinction. About 40 years ago, the American alligator was placed on the first endangered species list.

Night_Rack_Card_GatorBut through protection and resurgence in alligator farming, the alligator was removed from the list in 1987. Alligators are still listed as threatened because other reptiles that look like alligators – crocodiles and caimans – are endangered.

Although much is known about alligators, there still are a lot of myths about the reptile. Those who handle alligators know about the animal’s behavior and try to debunk those myths about alligators.

Some of those myths include:

  • Zigzag – If an alligator runs at you, you should run in a zigzag pattern to avoid getting caught. Alligators can reach speeds of 25 mph, so you are only going to slow your escape if you do not run straight, as fast as you can, away from an alligator.

  • 20-foot alligators – The largest alligator ever captured was 19 feet long and that was in the early 1900s in Louisiana. Alligators usually don’t get longer than 13 feet and weigh more than 600 pounds.
  • Centurions – Alligators don’t live to be 100, but they do live to about 60 to 80 years in captivity and 35 to 50 years in the wild.

  • Don’t fence me in – Alligators have been known to climb fences to escape captivity and a fence of 4.5 feet is recommended to keep alligators out of your yard.

  • Aren’t they cute – Baby alligators may look cute, but they will bite the hand that feeds them. Alligators do not make very good pets and special permits are needed to be able to have any size of reptile.

If you want to learn more about alligators, consider booking one of the Wild Florida alligator handlers for your next event. Your event will be more special when your guests are able to pose with an alligator and learn more about the animal. All of your guests will be talking about your wild event!


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Topics: Alligators

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