Well the good news, my friend, is that humans are not on the list of alligators favorite foods. In fact, alligators don’t hunt humans at all!
That said, I wouldn’t lay quietly in the middle of a deserted marshy area on a hot summer evening. Alligators, while not incredibly bright, are opportunistic diners. So if your pet Labradoodle walks too close to a hungry gator, he might become a snack. In fact, one of our Orlando vacation home rental communities just posted a sign on their nature trail to beware of gators, because someone did report a small dog gone missing, possibly to a gator’s stomach.
So while you shouldn’t be afraid of gators, you should be conscientious when you enter their habitat. They were here first, after all!
A few tips – alligators like to hide in marshy areas, waiting for a meal such as a small bird or fish to come along. They will also actively hunt at night. Normally only for something bite-sized, not a whole human!
Alligators that have been fed by humans begin to associate humans with food, which of course is a bad idea. When you see a big one, you might want to keep your distance since you don’t know that particular gator’s history. And if for some reason they mistake your arm for small prey (did I mention they are not too bright?!) you will be headed to the hospital for stitches. Probably not worth the story to tell your grandkids!
Don’t let your small children or small pets wander off into marshy areas, of course, but you will be fine anywhere there is lots of human activity (all of our inhabited lakes, for instance). Our water ski jumper friends say that alligators like to sun themselves on the jump ramp, so they have to chase them off before they get their training under way. And to this day no jumper has been eaten, even after a big crash!
Oh, and don’t forget to take an air boat ride while you are here to see them in their natural habitat – after all, the more you know about this cool native beast the better!