Alligators are a common sight in the Florida Everglades, but one hiker had a surprise last week when the came across one of the reptiles snacking on a Burmese python. Katina Boychew, of Cape Coral, managed to capture the incident on camera, complete with loud chewing, as the alligator enjoys its meal.
As local news site WTSP reports, Boychew was stunned to come across the scene during a walk on March 29. "I was just amazed," she said. "[It] was a once-in-a-lifetime catch."
She shared the video, which you can watch below, on Facebook.
The National Park Service (NPS) explains that alligators are an important part of the ecosystem in the Everglades. Their nesting activities are important for creation of peat, several species of turtle live inside old or abandoned alligator nests, and flooded alligator holes make valuable reservoirs during droughts.
Despite their reputation as fierce predators, you're very unlikely to be attacked by one while exploring the Everglades. According to National Geographic, from 1948 to 2016, there were only 383 recorded incidents of 'gator bites serious enough to need medical attention.
Of those, 23 resulted in death, though some of those were a result of subsequent infections rather than damage inflicted by the animal. Most fatal incidents involved swimmers and snorkelers, who are in much closer proximity to alligators than hikers.
That said, it's always a good idea to keep your wits about you, and look out for signs of alligator activity like indentations in the mud alongside rivers and lakes, where the animals have rested or slid into the water. You might also hear alligators grunting and roaring, particularly during late spring.
In the unlikely event that an alligator charges you, your best option is to run away as fast as possible. Alligators can move quite quickly, but only for short periods, and they tend to zig-zag rather than running straight. For more advice, see our guide what to do if you see an alligator in Florida.
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.