By: Vivienne Wellet
On Thursday, April 6th a 10-foot alligator was crossing a busy road in Venice, Florida, becoming a large traffic mess. Officials tried to move it by using meat to taunt or catch it so it can then be released into the wild, but none of those seemed to work. A local in Venice captured a video of the 10-foot animal crossing underneath his truck. The man had told officials that the gator had one leg missing from its body.
A reason why people, officials, and wildlife services might believe that more of the gators are going to cross the road is that it’s almost mating season for them. According to FWC( Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission), mating season usually occurs in May or June, and “females typically form nests in August and September, where they will then lay on average between 30 and 50 eggs in late June or early July. Hatching takes place August through September.”
Although Floridians might not be scared of them, the FWC highly recommends that if you’re going to swim in a lake or river that is around nesting for the gators, only swim where it’s protected by humans and where you won’t get eaten. Also, if you are walking your pet around brackish water or freshwater, it’s highly recommended to stay away from them. If you don’t notice any signs before you head into the water and you don’t notice the gator coming towards you, it might think it’s dinner and drown you by using their iconic routine. It starts by pulling you underwater and then it tumbles you in circles until you drown.
Alligators are carnivores that can eat anything up to one pound each week. They can run up to 20mph so just in case anybody gets chased by a gator, run in a zigzag because they can’t turn that fast because of their tail. However, if you forget to run in a zigzag formation, it can run you down.
They can live up to 50-100 years and according to an article, after they get to four feet long, they are safe from any predator except humans. People might think that they could be a dinosaur, but studies show that they are only just part of the reptile family. People might also think that alligators and crocodiles are the same things, but they aren’t. Alligators have a more U- shaped snout, black spots along with their bodies, and are smaller than crocs.
Crocodiles are way bigger, have more of a V-shape snout, and are more aggressive. For self-defense, kick, gouge, and poke the gator in the eye and you can escape, for crocs it will most likely not work. So whenever you are in the woods at night, on fresh or brackish water, or anywhere there might be alligator nesting, watch out because they can see clearly at night and you never know when you can run into one.
Picture from National Geographic