Sean Lopez | February 13, 2023 | Personal Injury
What to Do If You Encounter an Alligator in St. Petersburg
Florida is home to about 1.25 million alligators and about a thousand American crocodiles. These reptiles have become something of a mascot for the state, and it’s not uncommon to see them while you’re out fishing or hiking. Knowing how to safely interact with alligators is important both for Florida residents and for visitors.
The best way to avoid an alligator bite is to stay away from these animals. Read on to learn how to avoid dangerous encounters and what to do if an alligator does get you in its jaws.
Keep a Safe Distance
The single best way to avoid getting injured by an alligator is to avoid the alligator altogether.
In most cases, alligators want to avoid you even more than you want to avoid them, and they won’t attack unless they feel threatened. Always stay at least 15 or 20 feet away from an alligator, and use extra care during the spring, when they may be mating or nesting.
That being said, one of the quickest ways to turn an alligator aggressive is to feed it. When gators learn that they can get free handouts, they’re much more likely to approach humans, and attacks can result.
Never ever feed a gator – and remember, throwing fish guts over the side of your boat when there’s a gator nearby can count.
Back Away Slowly
In some cases, you may wind up too close to a gator on accident or without even realizing it. Alligators are very good at hiding, and when they’re not moving, they can be mistaken for a log.
If you do get too close to a gator, it will likely hiss to warn you away.
If you notice you’re too close to an alligator or you hear one hiss, immediately start backing away slowly. Most alligators don’t want a fight any more than you do, and as long as they don’t feel like you’re a threat, they’ll stay where they are.
Move away from them carefully until you’ve reached a safe distance.
Unfortunately, sometimes gators (especially those guarding nests) do feel threatened and will attack.
If you’re on land, you have the upper hand in these encounters. Although alligators can be very fast (they can run up to 35 miles per hour on land), they can only sprint a short distance before they get tired.
Contrary to popular belief, you should never run in zigzags away from an alligator. If you can get away from them fast enough, you have a good chance of outlasting them in a foot race, so you want to get as far away from them as possible as fast as you can. Run in a straight line away from the alligator.
Usually, after fifteen or twenty feet, the alligator will give up and go back to the water.
Fight for Your Life
If you get attacked in the water, the alligator has the upper hand. They’re very strong swimmers, and their “death roll” is very effective.
If an alligator does manage to get its jaws on you, the best thing you can do is fight like your life depends on it (and it may).
If the alligator starts to roll, go with it, but do everything you can to convince the animal you’re not worth the trouble. Punch it on the nose, shove an arm down its throat, poke its eyes, and kick its belly.
If its grip loosens for even a moment, pull yourself free and run away as fast as you can.
Stay Safe in St. Petersburg
Alligator attacks in Florida are incredibly rare, and most gators want nothing more than to be left alone. If you do encounter a gator, back away slowly and, if it starts charging you, run away in a straight line as fast as possible. If an alligator gets its jaws on you, fight as hard as you can, and try to convince the gator that this meal isn’t worth the trouble.
Personal injuries in St. Petersburg can be devastating, and in some cases, you could be entitled to compensation. Schedule a free consultation with our lawyers today to get the representation you need in your St. Petersburg personal injury case.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm – Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys
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700 7th Ave N Suite B
St. Petersburg, FL 33701