Never feed or entice an
Why hunt hard for food all night
when you can simply wait for a human to toss it right to your
mouth? That's what a 'gator might think when it regularly enjoys
food service from curious humans. Hence, each time that
alligator sees a person --you guessed it-- it thinks that it's
'feeding time'. The alligator may approach that person,
sometimes hungrily charging to accept its expected meal. It all
adds up to a dangerous situation, especially if that person is a
child. The smaller the prey, the more willing the 'gator is to
pursue and take it.
The excitement of the
alligator's presence tends to inspire mischief in its feeders,
lead to a harmful or deadly brush with an alligator.
The images seen here are still shots from long-distance video taken by a concerned
citizen in a south Florida neighborhood who said that she witnessed the woman
here pictured repeatedly feeding an
Note in the second image that the woman
her body backward to avoid contact with the reptile; this seems
to indicate that the woman was surprised by the alligator's
closer movement toward her. This is a "textbook" example of the
escalation of danger when an alligator, like a dog or other
animal, grows bolder with each feeding, losing its fear of
humans and becoming exponentially more dangerous. If this
reptile was a very large one, the potential danger could be much
Even worse, other alligators who
witness this event may copy that individual alligator's behavior,
prompted by its positive outcome. The woman might one day have
been confronted by multiple allligators, including a large one.
And one more point: Even if the woman ceased feeding the
alligator, the reptile's mind is now "programmed" to approach
humans for food in many situations-- and the danger remains.
These images demonstrate the amusement of novelty giving way to
the danger of reality.
(Images were captured from video by Lynette
Miller. Used under Fair Use law)
Feeding these crocodilians isn't just
potentially dangerous, it's prohibited under statutory law in several states, including Florida. Don't
be a participant in the possible eventual injury or death of another for the sake
of the momentary thrill of feeding a wild alligator.
Did you know?
Alligators longer than 48 inches which are involved in
human-conflict incidents in Florida are, in compliance with
caught and killed by licensed trappers. Hence, the feeding of a wild
alligator may well lead to its death.
This also includes
disposing of fish scraps
left over from fishing. Never leave the scraps on land or in water (those
keen 'gator snouts can smell the scraps on the shore or dock). The
scraps should be deposited in a nearby trash can. If there isn't such a
can, you should take the scraps with you and dispose of them in a trash
container elsewhere. In Florida, for example, it is
leave scraps. Leaving scraps conditions the alligator's behavior just as
direct feeding does.
Be careful too, when feeding fish, turtles or ducks,
in case alligators are present. They will usually gladly eat fish, turtle
or duck food. It is best to avoid these practices in the wild.
Also note that some who illicitly feed
alligators may offer food that's unhealthful for the animal,
such as marshmallows or hot dogs, food that may harm the
alligator and possibly the ecological dependents of it.
Florida's current alligator
regulations are readily available; you may read them,