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How to Survive An Alligator Encounter

There is no reptile more rough, tough, and dangerous than the alligator. These large lizards can kill nearly anything if it’s angry enough. If you live somewhere hot or tropical, you should know how to protect yourself from these creatures if you have to.

Where Are Alligators?

If you live in an area prone to alligators, you probably already know it. Native to the United States, gators prefer the southeast, in states like Georgia, Alabama, and Texas. They are most common in Louisiana and Florida, however.

Alligators prefer freshwater environments that are hot and wet, like ponds, marshes, wetlands, swamps, rivers, and lakes. Territorial creatures, they generally don’t leave their homes unless they want food or a mate. This is good because it means that they are unlikely to invade your personal space in an aggressive manner. They will behave VERY aggressively if you begin to enter their territory, however.

How to Survive an Alligator Attack

Let’s assume a narrative: you’re in the southern wilderness for one reason or another and during a walk you find an alligator sitting alongside the road ahead. It clearly sees you and is focused on you. It hisses to express aggression. Here’s what you should do.

  • Back Away Slowly: Fast motions can instigate the animal. While keeping a close eye on the gator, slowly move away from it until you are in a safe distance. The best way to survive an attack is to not encourage one from happening.
  • Run in a Straight Line: Say it’s too late and it has begun to approach you. The best retreat is an expeditious one. You might have heard the myth that you should run in a zig-zag. While it’s true that gators aren’t the best at turning, this is not the ideal retreat. The average man can run faster than the average top speed of an alligator (10 mph). The catch is that gators cannot run for nearly as long as people can. Save yourself the effort of dodging around and just get the heck out of dodge.
  • You Can’t Open The Jaw: The premier attack of the gator is the mouth. They have massive, powerful jaws that can clamp down with more force than any human can muster. That means you can’t open their mouths if you tried. If you find yourself grabbed by a gator’s mouth, you shouldn’t bother trying to pry their mouth open. Its significantly easier to hold their mouth closed, but if you’re escaping a gator and it DOESN’T have its teeth in you, then you should be running.
  • Punch Its Nose: Have you ever noticed that the mouth and jaw area of a gator is covered in little black dots? That’s not 5 o’clock shadow, it’s a series of special sensors that help the gator detect pressure changes underwater. These help them hunt in murky water with low visibility. This means this area is sensitive. If you REALLY want to cause a gator discomfort, you should punch is square in the nose. With any luck, this will bother them enough to let go of you and give you time to escape.
  • Gouge Their Eyes: This approach is a bit more violent, but sometimes you need to be violent to survive an attack. The eyes are a sensitive and debilitating organ. Digging your thumbs into their eyes can hurt them enough to get them to release you, or even retreat. This applies to most creatures, really.

These five tricks can be the difference between life or death. Stay safe, preppers.

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