If you have spotted a small alligator in your pond in or in your backyard you may have a problem especially if you have small children or pets around. Alligators are typically not aggressive unless they have been hand fed by humans’. If they have been fed by humans they are only looking for their next meal to be handed out to them by humans. As a proactive action humans should not toss food to the alligators. Suggest this to your neighbors also. As a reminder these are wild animals and should not be treated as a domesticated pet. Small alligators that are 3 feet and under are naturally afraid of humans and will should not be a threat to humans or pets.
If an alligator is over 4 feet it would be they may be aggressive toward humans and small pets. Removal of the creature is required for your sake and theirs. This is an excellent opportunity to teach your children about the importance of protecting wildlife while also respecting their natural habitats. Remind children who they should go to in case an accident occurs in the pond or who would be available to help if assistance is needed. Children should never be left alone around a body of water; however, it is prudent to be prepared for the potential problem. Water and wildlife are always attractive to children and a few hours of instruction in advance could prevent a lifetime of heartache.
Alligators don’t want to include humans in their diet, but the truth is they will eat just about anything if given the opportunity. They will also defend their territory aggressively, especially during breeding season. The best way to stay safe in with these animals whether it’s their habitat or your pond is to give the creatures space and exercise caution around water where they may live. In the event that you are attacked, you may be able to survive if you fight back strategically. Here are some tips if you have to defend yourself against an alligator. Remember proactive means are your best bet with these creatures. Fence in your property or build a barrier fence on your property pond to keep out the gators. If you’re adamant about capturing and removing the alligator yourself read the following advice, also make sure you understand the state or federal conservation laws for permits, for relocation of alligators and killing them or reconsider getting a professional found in our directory:
Precautionary Measures Around Alligators
- Stay away from waters that are inhabited with alligators. Ask local residents/neighbors and authorities about the presence of alligators in lakes and rivers, and don’t go swimming outside of designated areas in these waters where these animals are thought to be present. It’s also important that you not swim in these waters at dusk or nighttime, when these animals are harder to see and when they most actively hunt.
- Be aware of your surroundings. If you’re going to be working or having some recreation in or around water in an area where alligators roam, it’s important to remain vigilant at all times. Alligators can hide themselves very well in water, often keeping only their eyes and nostrils above water or submerging entirely. Do not put arms or legs off a boat into the water. Keep your distance from the water when walking on shore–alligators will attack fishermen and people gathering water on the shore–and avoid thick reeds and vegetation that provides these animals with good cover.
- Stay at least 15 feet away from alligators. Once you’ve spotted them, give alligators a wide berth. 15 feet is usually ample on land, but during breeding season, it’s a good idea to stay even farther away. Always stay far away from nests or baby alligators as mothers are fiercely defensive. Alligators can produce short bursts of speed on land that can take you by surprise if you’re too close. In the water, these animals are far faster swimmers than humans and feel more at home, so it’s best to give them as much space as possible.
- Avoid surprising the animals. If you see you’re going to come anywhere close to an alligator, make noise by slapping the water or blowing a whistle, for example. Stay away from riverbanks when coming around bends in a river if canoeing or swimming. Alligators basking on the shore may attack in self-defense if you surprise them.
- Run away from the animal. Despite your precautions, you might accidentally come dangerously close to an alligator. Fortunately, alligators rely on the element of surprise to capture prey, so it’s extremely unusual for one of these animals to pursue a person on land. Alligators, however, are not as slow on land as some people believe. The land speed record for an alligator is about 10 miles per hour and these animals are sprinters not long distance runners, meaning that as long as you can see it coming, any teen or adult in decent shape can easily outrun one of these animals. Run away from the water, where as an alligators seldom run on land unless they’re trying to get back into the water. The commonly-repeated instruction to run a zigzag pattern is useless: the quickest getaway is to run away in a straight line.
- Fight back if you’re attacked. While the normal behavior of alligators is to bite a potential meal (that is you) and hold on until forcibly removed, they will sometimes deliver a single, quick defensive bite and then immediately let go. If this occurs, just try to get away from the animal as quickly as possible. In predatory attacks, however, the animal doesn’t let go and will often try to drag a person into the water or underwater. Alligators can submerge themselves much longer than humans can, so the only hope of survival if you’re attacked in this manner is to fight back and get away. Simply struggling and trying to pull free is usually futile and may induce the animal to go into an underwater death roll, during which an arm or leg stuck in the alligators’ mouth will likely be ripped off. A solid, deliberate attack on the animal is a better option. Go for the eyes with a knife or something sharp. The most vulnerable part of an alligator’s body is its eyes. Try to hit or poke the eyes with whatever you have handy. Even your hands can be effective weapons if you can hit the animal’s eyes. A Florida teenager recently escaped an alligator that had dragged him into the water by jamming his thumb into the alligator’s eye.
- Go for the nostrils or ears. While not as sensitive as the eyes, the nostrils and ears can be attacked. A hard blow or a cut to either of these areas may cause the animal to release you. Many people have been saved from an alligator’s jaws when other people have hit the animal’s snout with a pole or club.
- Go for the palatal valve. Alligators have a flap of tissue behind the tongue that covers their throats when they submerge in water. This flap prevents water from flowing into their throats and hence prevents the crocodile from drowning when its mouth is open. If your arm or leg is stuck in a crocodile’s mouth, you may be able to pry this valve down. Water will then flow into the crocodile’s throat, and animal will most likely let you go. Hard strikes to this valve may also cause the animal to release you.
- Get medical attention as soon as possible. An alligator’s mouth harbors a tremendous amount of bacteria, and infection is almost guaranteed if a bite is not treated quickly.