Expert says Gator attacks on Humans are rare

Posted at 10:35 PM, Jun 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-16 06:43:40-04

In a state that is teeming with alligators, fatalities from alligator bites are rare, with just one reported in 2015 according to Florida Fish and Wildlife statistics.

"I've been concerned, but cautious and careful," said Amy D'Altrui.  She lives a block from where an 11-foot gator was recently pulled from a drainage ditch in the Whiskey Creek neighborhood of Ft. Myers.

D'Altrui says a gator living in the lake behind her home has its eye on her family and two dogs. "If I crouch really low to the ground, the Gator will swim directly at us, and then I will stand up and it will turn and swim away."

But Greg Graziani, who runs an alligator farm in Highlands County, says unlike crocodiles, gators will not come on land to catch their prey.

News of the deadly gator attack on a child at Disney World, in two feet of water surprised him.  "They definitely have a flight response for the most part, because we are not on their menu, so something like this is extremely rare."

Alligators feast mainly on snakes, frogs, and turtles, but that changes if humans feed them.  "Once that happens they associate people with a free meal."

In the Whiskey Creek neighborhood, where D'Altrui lives, people know full well the consequences of feeding these beasts.  "A couple of the neighbors have said don't even throw mangos or fruit, don't feed them at all."