4. Never feed or entice an alligator.

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 thinks when he enjoys food service from curious humans. Hence, each time that alligator sees a person –you guessed it– it thinks it’s feeding time. The alligator may approach that person, sometimes hungrily charging to accept his 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, A Florida woman illegally feeds an alligator near her backyard.which may 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 alligator.

Note in the second image that the woman has hurled 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.

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– and the danger remains.

The images here demonstrate the amusement of novelty giving way to the danger of reality.

(Images above from video by Lynette Miller.)

Feeding these crocodilians isn’t just dangerous, it’s illegal in several states, including Florida. Evidence strongly suggests that many victims of alligator attacks were hurt or killed by alligators that were accustomed to being fed by humans. Don’t be a participant in the eventual injury or death of another for the sake of the momentary thrill of feeding a wild alligator.

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 embankment). 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 illegal to 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.