Alligator Fact Versus Fiction

Just hearing the word alligator can scare the bejeezus out of most of us. This animal is a beast and has been around since prehistoric times. There is no doubt that there are many old tales about alligators floating around. Some are true, but many others are more than slightly exaggerated.

So, how can you tell the difference between what is fact and what is fiction? Here we will take a closer look at some of the most common alligator myths and clue you in on what is true and what is not.

  • Alligators can grow to over twenty feet long and weigh over a ton. Did you know that the longest recorded length of an alligator is nineteen feet two inches? While this is not a far cry from the twenty feet long myth, it does not represent the majority. Most alligators typically grow to thirteen feet in length. The weight of an alligator can vary and has much to do with its length; however, you will probably never run across an alligator that weighs more than a ton. Typically, a full grown alligator weighs in at over 600 pounds.
  • The lifespan of an alligator is over one hundred years. Many captive alligators are known to live for about sixty to eighty years. However, in the wild their lifespan is actually believed to be much shorter. Most experts believe that most wild alligators live for thirty five to fifty years. However, it should be noted that there is no scientific study or method to determine the age of an alligator.
  • When you run from an alligator, you should zigzag. Most alligators do not chase humans, as they prefer other smaller prey. There are times when they may be protecting their nests, so you need to pay attention and use caution. If you do happen to come across an alligator that moves aggressively towards you, you should not zigzag. You need to run as fast and as straight as you can away from the alligator. Most alligators do not like to run for long periods of time or long distances, so this method should work at keeping you a safe distance away from the alligator.
  • Alligators cannot see very well. This myth can get you in some trouble because alligators do in fact have great eyesight. They have adapted to be able to see and sense their prey’s movements. Their wide set eyes, nearly placed on opposite sides of their hides, gives them a broad type of vision. The only place where you can be assured that they cannot see is if you are directly behind them, but you do not want     to be there. Their massive tails can do some damage.
  • Alligators cannot climb. In fact, alligators have sharp claws and a powerful tail that can come in handy for climbing. Young ones are very agile climbers, and it is not uncommon to see adult alligators climbing fences to get to water or out of an enclosure. So, do not think that you can climb something to escape an alligator or your pets are safe behind that fence because you may find that this could not be further from the truth.
  • Alligators are   perfect pets. Truthfully, alligators will make horrible pets. They are dangerous predators that would just assume to eat you, your kids or your other pets. Their number one instinct is to hunt, and they will not show you affection like a cat or dog would. They will also never follow the rule of never biting the hand that feeds you. So, if you think that baby alligator is too cute, and you have to have it, DON’T! You are placing yourself and others in unnecessary danger and breaking multiple laws in the process.

Did you believe any of these alligator myths? Some of them have been around for so long that we automatically assume they are true. I hope that you learned a few things about these dangerous reptiles and have made up your mind to give them a wide berth, no matter how much you may think you know about them.

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