Gator Watch!

I had my first bad experience with a gator several weeks back on one of our local creeks. The gator was in the middle of the creek & he charged me head on. I was at least 30 to 40 feet away & the creek was at least 30 feet wide.Do others think the drought may be affecting their behavior?

I would not be surprised to find out…
…that it’s also mating season or perhaps a nest


Maybe just a yen for plastic.

No Envy
Come November when I hang my kayak in the garage until spring I will remember this gator story and not feel quite as much envy of you southerners and your extended paddling season.

I think the water moccasins tipped the gator off.

That’s all it is, just a story. Gators
seldom bother you unless you look to be a bother, like during mating/nesting season, like this time of year. We’ll thing about you hanging your boats up in November while out on the water.

Go Gators!!!

mating season
you were probably disturbing some romance…:wink:

“Courtship begins in early April, and mating occurs in May or June. Females build a mound nest of soil, vegetation, or debris and deposit an average of 32 to 46 eggs in late June or early July. Incubation requires approximately 60-65 days, and hatching occurs in late August or early September.”

I don’t like to paddle in freshwater rivers/lakes this time of year.

Testosterone in males jumps…

– Last Updated: May-30-07 6:19 PM EST –

... something on the order of 200x this time of year resulting in serious behavioral changes.

Standard advice: Steer well clear. Do not get into a position where the gator has an obstacle behind and you in front. Avoid any restricted areas like narrow channels, creeks - particularly dead ends.

In addition, be aware that the bulls have harems - so it's not hard to get between the king and one of his concubines without even knowing it - making you an instant rival of similar size/shape - particularly as seen from below...

Usually the aggression is mostly show, but in some cases that can include bumping and snapping. Best to avoid.

Personally, I just stick to salt water most of the time. More room, crocs are more shy, and the sharks are unlikely to attack anything longer than they are (reason #12 to stay in the kayak).

The small lizards here also get rather bold in spring/early summer. They usually scurry away at anything, but in spring I've had them challenge me with threatening displays, and even go so far as to run out and bite my shoe, etc. pretty comical. Scale that up a few thousand times to gator size and I'm no longer laughing.

The local ducks must have similar seasonal hormone fluctuations - as the males are acting pretty crazy now. One tries to attack me almost daily. In addition to his teenage angst, I think he blames me for the car HE ran into as I shooed him away... a sad and funny event at the same time. He had some tails feathers blow out on impact (like a cartoon) and limped for a day - then was fine and meaner than ever. We get a lot more hit by cars this time of year as they get quite a bit stupider than usual, and focused what attention they have on hens and rivals.

One question
is that the gator’s testosterone or mine?

Same thing happened to me
I was making sweet love to a gator when a kayaker came along. I charged straight at 'em and he quickly backed off. Damn yakkers.

So it charged you head on…
How about the rest of the story?

I don’t mean to be a doubting Thomas, but my guess was it did not charge you.

Deep water, which is a safe haven for the gator was probably under you and that is where it was headed.



Unless you have teeth marks
I agree with JackL. Gators go to deeper water when threatened. That is why I am staying away from Blackwater Creek until we get a lot of rain. Too shallow and narrow right now for the gators (and therefore me) to feel safe.

What did happen after this head on charge?

You lived to tell the story

True… Bull gators have their harem
but it’s the females who select the mate. If a female can push a male’s snout underwater with hers she’ll have nothing more to do with him and seek out a stronger mate (I’ve witnessed this more than once).

The mating season varies from region to region, even with nearby river basins (Hillsborough River and Green Swamp for example). I’ve witnessed hatchlings hanging around mama as early as March yet still hanging around the nest as late as late September in a different river.

I didn’t notice an estimated size mentioned in this post but here’s a clue to if it’s a male or female:

If it’s under 10 ft. and charging your boat it’s likely a female guarding her nest. If it’s larger than ten ft. it’s a male and it’s not so much from guarding a harem but not enough water depth to hide from an intruder, especially during this serious a drought here in the Florida peninsula.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rules…

BTW… I’d much rather paddle around gators year-round than the uneducated motor-boaters out in masse in this state or hang up my paddles due to a cold northern winter .

no doubt

– Last Updated: May-31-07 1:21 PM EST –

come on guys, why so quick to doubt the guy? the thing happen "several weeks ago" and he's just posting it now? maybe he's been pecking away at the message with only 1 hand (as in the gator got the other one)?

No one doubts he believes he was
charged by a gator, the disbelief is that the gator actually charged from that distance. That would be a rare occurrence.

I need to correct myself then.

I believe he believes he was attacked.

I am doubting that the gator attacked.

I have paddled with and around gators for thirty years, and several years ago decided to do some experimentation to find out just how aggressive they are.

I won’t go into details, but will say that they are NOT AGGRESSIVE.(unless you are a toddler in which case you could be in their food chain).

With that said, there are exceptions to everything.

I would still like to here the rest of the story although I think I could write it myself.



Rest of the story
I have been paddling year round for about ten years & have never been worried about gators because I keep my distance from them, I don’t mess with their nesting area, and I don’t give them a reason to become aggressive. My post was to help other paddlers avoid my experience, not to make up a story. When you have a gator that is between 10 and 12 ft. coming at you with it’s mouth open, you don’t have much time to think. I did not stop & wait to see if this was just a bluff. I back paddled like hell & them decided it was best to paddled as fast as I could to the left. The gator rolled and went under as I passed. No, I did not get attacked, but my fear of gators has increased just a tad.

Thank you for the rest of the story, and
that tells me just as I surmised.

You were in deeper water, and the “gator rolled and went under as you passed”

That deeper water was it’s safe haven and it just wanted to get to it.