Well, since I’m in Eastern North Carolina, let me ask about gators. We do have them in our central to southern extremes. Has anybody met one and lived to tell about it? One of my guide books for Brunswick County warns about the presence of gators in some of the creeks.

Don’t worry about gators. They only
go after orange or yellow kayaks and canoes. Actually, they don’t bother anyone and this time of year, in the areas you mention, they’re pretty much dug into the mud trying to stay warm, as are most snakes.

In my area of the state,
(I live in Greenville and paddle on the Tar River), they aren’t a problem. I’m new to kayaking and I’m excited about finding new places around the state to paddle. But I have a 10 foot Hurricane Santee 100. There are alligators that are bigger than my boat. I used to be a Boy Scout. I remember the motto: “Be Prepared!”

Walley Gator
I paddle the lower Cape Fear River a couple times a year, never saw one. I live in Florida though near the Space Center and have (3) I paddle over in my canal everyday. Never had a problem with a gator down here as long as you know the do’s and don’ts. Exercise care!

For two years I paddled and fished
a lake inhabited by 50-60 gators over 8 feet. Its not a big lake. The largest was/is 13 ft according to the park rangers. I’ve paddled among as many as seven in a 100 yard area with no problems. I’ve hit them with my 9.5 foot kayak, the would just dive. I’ve had them surface next to me only to dive again and splash.

You are more likely to have a problem with a snake falling into your boat than with alligators. Then again, a snake in the boat can cause some to do a quick exit, not the best thing in alligator country.

Still, alligators attacking anyone, outside of Florida where idiots feed them and swim after dark in gator areas, or Louisiana where the gators know attack or be on the menu, you’ve no worries.

North Carolina
doesn’t have the number of gators that Florida and Louisiana have. We don’t go out looking at them nor do we try to eat them. Maybe I’ll be okay.

I hear
that they really enjoy snacking on red Pamlico 140’s :slight_smile:

Well then I’m lucky!
I’ve got a green and white Santee 100!

You will. We’ve learned to live with
them in Texas. They are fun to watch. Just stay away from them during mating and hatching seasons.

Alligators are OK…
I paddle with them every weekend on the Hillsborough River in FL and have never seen any agressiveness. Now this is not to say there have not been close encounters. I have had 2 large ones bounce off my kayak on three occasions. Yep, the same one on 2 occasions. In every case, they were escaping into the water in a very narrow stretch of the river. I always take turns as wide as I can. In the spots where I know gators sun themselves, I bang the sides of the kayak to give them a clue that I am coming. Use common sense and don’t approach them. Try to give as much space as to not have them feel cornered. I always tell my new paddling companions how to tell if any gators are around. It goes like this. If you hear a splash in the middle of the river or lake, its a fish. If you hear the splash close to shore, its a turtle. If you don’t hear any splash, its a gator.

Relative size
I was told gators view the paddler and boat as a single entity. Even in a relatively small boat, you give the impression of substantial mass, and I guess the gator figures you and the boat are big enough that it’d be a lot of trouble trying to choke you down his throat.

I rented a canoe at a livery / barbecue / dancing place down in Louisianna some years ago. Pre Katrina days. There was a picture of a huge gator on the wall. The guy running the place told us that a customer took the picture and stood up in the canoe to get the shot. He went on to say the customer then proceeded to fall out of the boat. Apparently he got back in so fast he hardly had time to get wet, and the picture was hanging there as proof that at least the camera made it back. I got goose bumps just thinking about swimming in front of such a large, toothy animal. But apparently what the others wrote about the gators not being overly aggressive is true.


And, just when you thought it safe

– Last Updated: Jan-23-08 11:52 PM EST –

to go into the water:

NC here also
cmillard, I am live in the Kinston area. We are probably less than 4o miles apart. I haven’t been where the gaters are yet, but I may gewt into those waters this year. I fish the Swansboro are mostly now. Great hearing from a fellow North Carolinian.

Will an alligator nip one’s head off…
when rolling in swampwaters?


Also in Florida
I’ve also done a lot of paddling around gator infested areas and never had a problem. Now that I take my 2 year old in the canoe I am a lot more cautious. Worst gators I’ve seen were at Myakka Park in West Central Fl - They’re reported to have the highest concentration of gators in the country. A friend went over a very large male as it submerged. The gator struck the kayak as he went over it. He has the tooth marks in the side of his kayak to prove it. The other place was Fisheating creek on the West side of lake ockeechobee. We’d catch a bass and no less than 3 small gators would come out of the weeds and attack them on the way up.

Try it, sumbit report. Do it at dusk.

I have paddled the upper part of lake Marion, the worst incident I have had is having them give a warning charge through the water toward your boat if you get to close to their nest.


Urban Gators
I paddled with Gators back in Florida all the time, and mostly never a problem. It takes some getting used to being around them, especially big ones, but in the wild they have never been aggressive to me.

There is one notable exception…

Gators can and do adapt to urban environments, and get habituated to humans. I got very crosswise with one about 8-8 feet that lived in a drainage pond at the Crosstown/22 st interchange in Tampa when I was working on a traffic job there.

In a head on confrontation, there was a lot of hissing and snapping, but he backed down first.

I bumped one with my kayak once…
scared the crap out of both of us. He(?) was trying to go every which a way and I was trying to go the other.

But they do get big, they can be aggressive, and no I would never swim with them on purpose.

Which one of you was …
… hissing and snapping?