Baby gators are hatching here in Florida

and their mothers are VERY protective of them for at least a month if not longer. Please keep a distance of at least 30 feet from them.

If you hear a “chrrrt, chrrrt, chrrrt” then you’ve just heard a baby (or more, possibly over two dozen) telling mother it feels it’s being threatened, and whether that’s your intention or not, she will respond!

For a month or two after hatching she is a very devoted mother and won’t think twice about defending her brood from ANY intruder, whether it’s a big bull gator or an unenlightened human in a canoe or kayak. At any other time she would normally swim away from you as quick as possible but due to her maternal instincts she will do whatever she can to remove that threat to the point of losing her life or taking yours.

To avoid any confrontation:

If you hear them move at least 30 feet from the riverbank that the noise is coming from. So what if you can’t see them, it’s enough knowing that they are there, which means mama’s real close too.

If you see them want to take a photo be aware mama will be nearby, usually less than 10 feet from the fartherest one away from her. You might not see her but she is there.

I had an austrian couple I took on a tour take photo of a bunch of babies with two hatchlings on top of mama’s head but it was taken with a camera with a zoom lens and they stayed at least 50 feet away the entire time. When they get home they’ll send me the pics and I’ll pass them along.

Let’s play it safe out there, folks.

Thanks for the warning

– Last Updated: Oct-04-07 2:35 AM EST –

I have a 7 day trip on the Apalachicola River starting on Oct 13th. I'll heed the warning and include it in the safety briefing.

You wouldn’t like paddling…

– Last Updated: Oct-04-07 6:02 AM EST –

with me.
I like to talk to the mommas and their little ones. (been paddling and studying them for the past 30 years)

It's those big bull grandpas that I give the right of way to.

Momma has no intention of you being a meal. She just wants you to keep away from the wee ones and will basically threaten you with a splash across your bow. (I know what the text books say, but I have never in my life heard or read of someone being actually bitten by a mother gator)

Big Daddy on the other hand is the one I don't want to tangle with. I always give him his right of way when he decides to stay in place.


They won’t be hatching there yet
It is much too cool.



Shotgun 00
Too many of the blasted things.

agree with jackl on
this one. Gulfcoaster knows one heck of a lot

about Florida plants and animals, but in 40 years here have never seen a momma gator actually attack

a kayaker.


I enjoy them.
I would much prefer and feel a lot safer paddling by a good size gator then peddling my bike by a good size Doberman or Rotweiler.



The 14 footers are the only ones that
make me wary. Several of those on the Myakka.

May on the Altamaha
I remember seeing lots of baby alligators (2-3’ = baby alligator) down on the intercoastal waters of the Altamaha in May 2005. Didn’t see any momma’s around and no big bulls. One small baby swam up to my kayak and I wanted to touch it but thought best just to enjoy the view.

I’ll explain things a little better

– Last Updated: Oct-05-07 12:50 AM EST –

When baby gators hatch they're roughly 6 to 8 inches long. Mama's only going to care for them two months max. Beyond that they are on their own.
I've yet to witness, or hear of a mother gator protecting her brood actually attack anyone but she will come at you to let you know you're trespassing. With that said, there are always exceptions and I for one don't want to be the first.
I've had a 10 foot mother watching her babies on a high inside bank of a creek as her babies were in the water in the outside bend with barely any current. To paddle through required blocking her view of her babies. So I floated through instead using my paddle as a rudder. I came within a foot of the babies but because my movements were very slight I didn't frighten the babies or alarm their mother. I enjoy seeing them but whenever possible I try to give them a wide berth. Not because I fear them but I believe in causing any animal as little stress as possible. They leave me in peace and I return the favor.
Nothing personal String but I find it amazing that the native americans got along with even the big ones when there was a hell of a lot more of them around then than there is now, they just knew how to get along them. I think there's too many people on this planet but I don't plan on eliminating them.
Yes Jack, I talk to them too, in a gentle calming voice as I pass by... at least 30 feet away when possible.

has great info as usual. I also paddle with gators here in Southeast Florida on a regular basis and have only one instance where a protective Mom charged my wifes boat. Very narrow creek and few options for wide berth. Gators are an essential part of an ecosystem essential for our survival here in South Florida.

"Ol One Eye"
is still down there.

But your really have to hunt to find him.

He is now (or at least last winter was) below the lower dam and out of the park.

To get to see the gentle giant, you have to put in way down river, paddle up river all day long, (beyond where the power boats can go), pull over several sand bars and downfalls, and then if your lucky and spot him, he will wink at you with that one eye.

It’s well worth the trip though.

We came home with some awesome ancient fossils.



I watched one
charge a boat on the Silver River on Labor Day (Itried to warn the people) should have seen those kayaks scatter.

silver river

I am gonna be on the Silver River over Thanksgiving…I am hoping NO gator

comes near me. Usually they are a good 30 feet or

so away - except in Myakka, then they are on every corner…

When they swoosh up near my boat though I still jump outa my seat!


Kayaking in swamps
usually brings you close to a lot of gators about 5 to 10 ft. I have a sit on top and usually try to give them there distance but they usually don’t mind me coming close to take a look. I recently came across almost a 15 footer that scattered as soon as I came within 10 feet.

Just use common sense people , don’t do anything that will anger them or make them chase you and keep your distance.

If you came within ten feet of a 15 …
footer, be careful. You are pushing your luck.