What are do’s and dont’s when paddling in alligator waters??
DON"T— try to feed them, swim with them, hook them while fishing, race them, fear them enough to stay off the water
Do— enjoy the fact these ancient creatures can be seen, take pictures, give them a wide berth, respect them as wild creatures
Respect them and they will respect you
Always give the big bulls, (anything over eight feet the right of way.
The others normally will get out of your way long before you get to them.
Don’t: Fall In!
I live in south Florida and have kayaked many times around alligators. If you don’t bother them they won’t bother you. In open water just paddle though - I will go over them if they are in my way. They always move but if they didn’t I would make a turn - better safe than sorry.
If you are in a narrow canal/channel and there is an alligator just continue and make sure it has enough time to get out of your way. A friend went over one and it panicked because the water wasn’t deep enough and he bumped my friend’s kayak. That is rare but got me to be more careful.
All in all, I basically don’t worry about alligators but respect them. I don’t like to sit still in alligator waters for very long especially if I am fishing from my kayak. Alligators are curious and they will come close to steal your fish.
heres a few don’ts
don’t pet the gaters
swim with the gaters
throw stuff at the gaters
don’t moon the gaters (you might fall overboard while
trying to pull your pants down)
Don’t paddle in areas frequented by swampboat tours. They feed the big gators almost every day and when a boat glides into the area they expect a handout. Some of these are huge and have lost their fear of boats.
Don’t stay around if baby gators are in the area. Mothers stay around for several weeks after hatching and the babies emit a alarm cry which brings her coming, in a bad mood. BTW babies are black with yellow stripes.
As said, just don’t mess with them and everything will be O.K. Have fun.
Survived my first experience…
Followed all the good advice above. I was on the Silver River in Ocala Nat’l Forest. Lots of Gators. Gave them a wide berth. Always allow them a means of egress, don’t corner them. When snapping pictures, be careful of your drift. I drifted in a little close to a gator up on a fallen tree and spooked him off. I paddled backwards very quickly. During mating season, they become more aggressive, so double down on common sense. I think July/August is mating season.
One I didn’t see mentioned
Do not get between a gator and the water.
When spooked they go to water… even if it’s over you.
Do not take your dog, esp. a
The big gators on the Loxahatchee and
in the Okefenokee seemed totally blase’ about canoes. We kept a boat length distance and took all the pictures we wanted to.
Mating Season Is April/May
Babies hatch out Aug./Sept. They can be very aggressive
during those times. KK
They can be aggressive
before mating season. If they think you might be a gator and competing for territory, you might get chased. I did.
Mating is April…in the Everglades (which is all I know about my gator attack after asking the rangers “why”) but the guys are bluffing now.
If you paddle up streams blindly prepared to have to change your clothes. Those mangrove tunnels are hard to figure out where the gators will be…cant see round the bends.
They get used to seeing paddled craft alright. Fact is many paddlers feed them lunch scraps. I took this pic at Wakulla Springs recently of this big boy. He was content to stay right there until we rafted up to eat lunch. He knew exactly what was going on and slipped into the water and waited near our canoes for handouts.
If they slap their head and tail
hard into the water, it is a male who is marking his territory. Let the gator have it - paddle around.
Only happened once to me.
are a very rare thing.
Been paddling central Florida for 15 years, and have yet to see agression.
We paddle year 'round, almost weekly.
Now, I’ve seen them warn me that I am on their territory, or getting too close, but only a warning.
They have roared at me (once), hissed at me, arched thier bodies at me, and generaly let me know I am upseting them.
I give them time to go away, and they do.
Be respectful, it is their home you’re visiting.
alligators can be agressive and
may defend themselves, but they do not eat people and have some fear of people
you are all missing the point
that is you may indeed be charged.
Has anyone actually paddled a narrow Florida creek with mangrove tunnels?
There often is less than ten feet in width. Just passing (on the opposite shore) can set a territorial male off.
Ask the rangers at Everglades National Park…they have seen this before…
My conclusion after over ten years boating with gators is that you cannot assume one will just slide into the water.
They can get up on all fours and run.
Pammy you are wrong again.
Do some more reading
Yes, I paddle narrow creeks,
and mangrove mazes. Seeing aligators in the salt water is less common than in the fresh.
Even in the narrow shallow creeks, they find ways to disappear when given the chance.
I have never been charged at, nor has anyone I know.
Yes, they can run, and manuver quickly, but real world interaction with these critters leads me to enjoy, and not fear them.
Avoid paddling toward sunset and night paddling. Manatee’s are a hazard as far as upsetting your kayak and putting you in the water .
I dont fear them
and Gopher Creek is pretty freshwater…there is no connection to the Gulf of Mexico. It is connected to Cannon Bay but is supplied by inland sources.
Gators they are wild animals and it was an awesome experience if a little unsettling.
Gopher sometimes is packed with fish in cold and windy weather and I wonder if fishermen habituation or the expectation of fish had anything to do with the charge. It had been cold for the three days before with temps just above freezing and high winds.