A hiker exploring a Florida wildlife preserve had a surprise recently when a large alligator sauntered across the trail he was following. Earmonn Molloy stopped to give the animal space, and recorded the encounter on his phone.
The video, which you can watch below, was shared by Fox 35 Orlando, and shows the striking animal casually crossing the path, completely ignoring Molloy.
Alligators are impressive looking creatures with a fearsome reputation, but they are naturally wary of humans and according to National Geographic, between 1948 and 2016, there were only 383 recorded incidents of an alligator bite serious enough to require medical attention.
To avoid being one of those unlucky few, the best thing you can do is avoid getting close to an alligator at all. They are well camouflaged, so you may not easily spot them when hiking Florida's beautiful trails, but if you're near a lake or river and spot large indentations on the bank (created where the gators slide into the the water), you can be fairly confident the animals are around.
You might also hear them grunting and roaring before you see them, particularly if you're hiking during their mating season in late spring.
If you do spot one, give it a wide berth. If it decides to give chase, run in a straight line in the opposite direction. Alligators can move at a fairly brisk 11mph, but not for long, and have a tendency to zig-zag.
For more advice, see our guide what to do if you see an alligator in Florida.
- Best binoculars and monoculars: enjoy wildlife from a safe distance
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 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).