Florida Gators Kill Two More

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 14th, 2006

The Associated Press is reporting on May 14, 2006, that the "bodies of two women, both apparently killed by alligators, were found Sunday less than a week after a similar death in a state that had seen just 17 confirmed fatal attacks by the animals in the previous 57 years."

The cases specifically are:

(1) A 23-year-old woman staying at a secluded cabin near Lake George was attacked while snorkling at a lakeside recreation area, said Marion County Fire-Rescue Captain Joe Amigliore. The lake is about 50 miles southeast of Gainesville.


(2) In Pinellas County, the death of [a 43-year-old Dunedin] woman whose body was found early Sunday in a canal 20 miles north of St. Petersburg also was blamed on an alligator, authorities said.

The entire article can be found here.

My prediction is that we will now see a literal media explosion of alligator articles, about attacks and about sightings of every out-of-place alligator seen anyplace in North America, or if the Austrian report is any indication, in Europe too. Be forewarned, as this happened this same way during the summer of 2001. The final fatal alligator attack that year happened on September 11, 2001, but it was buried in the events of that day outside of Florida. The forthcoming "alligator news" will have little to do with cryptozoology, seemingly, but it will impact what we do greatly. See "Why Cryptozoology Is Interested in Alligator Sightings".

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

22 Responses to “Florida Gators Kill Two More”

  1. scmarlowe responds:

    Since Hollywood is filming Lake Placid II, it’s a fair bet that alligators will get a good deal of play in the media until the picture debuts.

  2. bill green responds:

    hi loren your very welcome for posting these updates about the alligaters attacks in florida. now park rangers should definetly put signs in swamps or marshes etc to warn the public of the dangerous animals like alligaters that are in these areas. thanks bill 🙁

  3. scmarlowe responds:

    With all due respect Bill, gators are generally not dangerous to man.

    In the Shark Valley area of the Everglades National Park, people walk around daily within feet of the animals without mishap.

    It’s generally when a person swims in their territory during mating season or when someone messes with a young one causing it to chirp (that brings all the females in attack mode) that there is a problem.

    These latest attacks appear to be unusual and not indicative of their normal behavior towards humans.

  4. Redoubt responds:

    I’ve lived in the gator belt my entire life… and still do for that matter. These critters are ill tempered, territorial and have large mouths full of sharp teeth. To make matters worse, you can trespass on their space without realizing it because they don’t generally stake out property lines with cyclone fencing or post mailboxes.

    Being sort of low slung affords them cover and concealment in even moderately overgrown areas. Gators are not prone to attacking humans outright because they pretty much prefer prey they can fit into their jaws all at once. But if you go walking around a pond or a glade, you might accidentally step on one before you realize that you’re about to have a bad day.

    As a rule, people can usually escape a gator attack with, at worst, some missing fingers or toes… and perhaps a few dozen stitches. That’s not to say gators are slow but humans can, even on a bad day, outrun them hopping on one leg if so motivated.

    Another thing would be the eating of the human they’ve attacked. Gators can finish off a dog… say, the size of a toy poodle or spaniel in a few bites but a human? Even the largest domestic reptile would be hard pressed to consume the trunk, limbs and head in one sitting. So you have to think multiple animals and then wonder just how in the hell someone could miss that many of them. One? Yes. Two? Maybe. Three or more? Were they deaf and blind?

    Gators are ancient animals, completely in tune with their natural environments. They are also very adaptable and can survive the human presence usually without a lot of trouble… except for roads and highways and then, they are about as good as opossums at dodging your Dodge.

    My feeling is that if we see an upramping of gator attacks, there is a reason… besides a simple overlapping of living spaces. Like I said, they do adapt… they are survivors. Maybe they’re evolving to our presence and learning to acquire a taste for bipeds.

  5. scmarlowe responds:

    Gators frequently get a bum rap. As a rule, gators don’t eat fresh meat — they prefer it to be “ripe” and easy to tear off and swallow from a carcass.

    Many missing dogs and cats in these parts are blamed on gator attacks, but they rarely get out of the water when they are in ambush predator mode. And when they do, they take their prey to the bottom where they cram it under a log until it reaches the desired “ripeness”. They don’t leave their kills out on the land.

    Many dog and cat carcasses found on land are blamed on gators, but are almost always due to some other predator — in most cases around my home the real culpret turned out to be a Florida Panther (Inside of our city limits no less).

    If you want to find gator road kill, try driving US Route 41 from Naples to Miami or US Route 60 from Lake Wales to Vero Beach at night. There’s plenty of them.

    And, consider that we have a million or so alligators in the state. One or two bad eggs out of that population does not a crisis make.

    I live between two lakes and we’ve had some incidents involving gators in the complex, but (so far) no attacks on humans.

    Bear in mind that, a bite from a gator is not necessarily life threatening, but like all reptiles, gators have some pretty serious bacteria in their mouths (their first line of digestion). The secondary infection probability is a very real concern if you are nipped or bitten by one. You need to see a doctor immediately and get on antibiotic therapy right away.

  6. One Eyed Cat responds:

    Even if I’m wrong on this being the time of Mating season starting there is a drought in Florida right now – Rainy season not quite started yet. Gaters need some water so dwinding pools will cause hunt for new home as well.

    I will mention the 74 yrear young woman eho drove the gater biting her ankles away by wacking it’s head with a garden hose!

  7. scmarlowe responds:

    Redoubt, you forgot to mention that a gator will issue a warning hiss at you way before it will attack.

    It may also lurch in your direction when hissing but won’t rush you at first. However, as with a big cat (lion, tiger, puma, etc.), if you fall on the ground, you’ll be considered prey. Then they may come at you.

  8. scmarlowe responds:

    One-Eye, yes, the animals are stressed right now due to the ongoing drought and their receding habitats. Some must wander to find a new water source for a home.

    Mating season just ended about a month ago.

  9. DWA responds:

    Comment 3 above says “gators are generally not dangerous to man.”

    Well, they aren’t. Just like lions and tigers aren’t, when you don’t present yourself to be eaten. Like the two victims in the story undoubtedly did.

    I did quite a bit of freshwater snorkeling on a Florida trip back in 1990 (mainly clear springs in the central part of the state). It occurs to me now that maybe we weren’t as cautious on that trip as we should have been; I wouldn’t be nearly so cavalier as I was then if I went back now.

    Comment 3 goes on to say: “In the Shark Valley area of the Everglades National Park, people walk around daily within feet of the animals without mishap.” Beenair, dunnat. Here’s why they don’t attack: you are much tougher to kill, being up there on that cinder path, than the animals they normally eat. Immerse yourself in their element, and the big ones will take immediate notice.

    On the Florida springs trip I mention above, a friend and I were in Salt Springs snorkeling. I stuck my head above water to hear his wife finish a sentence “….gator over there.” I looked up in time to see a tail as big as me vanish into the water. Needless to say, he and I got out. Immediately. If we hadn’t, we would have been in trouble.

    The start of Comment 3 would be better rephrased: If you can see the alligator, and you are on land, and he is not gripping you in his jaws, you have nothing to worry about. Otherwise, be careful. They live there, you’re just visiting, and they might be hungry.

  10. DWA responds:

    These are worth comment:

    “Gators frequently get a bum rap. As a rule, gators don’t eat fresh meat — they prefer it to be “ripe” and easy to tear off and swallow from a carcass.”

    Gators don’t generally eat anything BUT fresh meat. At least it’s fresh when they kill it. They are by no means primarily scavengers; they’d starve. They’re PREDATORS.

    “Many missing dogs and cats in these parts are blamed on gator attacks, but they rarely get out of the water when they are in ambush predator mode. And when they do, they take their prey to the bottom where they cram it under a log until it reaches the desired “ripeness”. They don’t leave their kills out on the land.”

    This is all true. A gator won’t leave a kill on the bank. They kill and eat their food in the water.

    “Many dog and cat carcasses found on land are blamed on gators, but are almost always due to some other predator — in most cases around my home the real culpret turned out to be a Florida Panther (Inside of our city limits no less).”

    Again true.

    Bottom line: gators are opportunists. If a human gives them an opportunity, there will be no warning hiss. Predators alert potential troublemakers…when they’re not hungry. They don’t alert food.

  11. Redoubt responds:

    scmarlowe – Yes, I did neglect to mention the hiss and bellow.

    Another point is the tail… which is a weapon in itself. Can and will take you off your feet and leave you at their terms of engagement.

    Hey, these are all really good comments here! Can yall imagine what some of their now-extinct(?) larger cousins could have done?

  12. DWA responds:


    But let me add: no human should EVER be killed by a crocodilian. Not in this country. Being alert is the only requirement. Don’t stand by the water’s edge daydreaming, and gators will leave you alone.

    Here’s what gets me. One of the FL victims was a jogger. I refuse to believe the gator picked her off as she ran by. but what was she DOING…?

  13. scmarlowe responds:

    Alligators are crocodilians, but have a much less aggressive nature than crocodiles. Crocs are much more of a danger.

    As far as the jogger is concerned, I’ll bet an autopsy will show she was cooling her heels in a gator pond OR was killed on the path by some person and thrown in the water afterward.

    All fresh kill is fresh meat, but not all predators eat it for sushi. Many, like gators, prefer their meat decayed somewhat and hide their kills until it ripens.

    Ambient temperature is another factor. A cold gator is much less active than a hot one.

  14. DWA responds:

    All agreed.

    I just need to know about that jogger. ‘Cause if she was, unlikely as may be, seized while running by…what a video….!

    OK, can’t get flip about the death of a wife, daughter, sister, mom, or none of the above (but daughter which she definitely was). It’s a sad story.

    But it certainly doesn’t justify …not that I’m hearing such talk now…some kind of anti-gator campaign. This is what they are.

    A world in which you need to keep your eyes peeled ’cause you ain’t at the top of the food chain is a happier, healthier, and yes, gentler world. Some rogue species just need to be reminded, is all.

  15. twblack responds:

    If the Gator is Hungry and you are in his Area guess what he is gonna try and eat you plain and simple. Any Dangerous animal needs to be shown respect when in you are around or in his area most will protect that area at all costs. That is usually not good for a hunam or a anything else that may wander in to his domain.

  16. RHIANNON444 responds:

    Years ago, late 70’s a protected area in my home county was becoming overpopulated with smaller animals. The Fish and Game Commission of Mississippi County ARKANSAS introduced gator to Big Lake Swamp. We are just 70 miles NORTH of Memphis. The gators died out in a couple of years because we had worse than usual winters then.

    This may go a ways to explain some of the sightings.

  17. TemplarKnight21c responds:

    What people seem to be failing to notice is that Florida is the only place in the world with both crocodiles and alligators. Isn’t it possible that a crocodile, or crocdiles, killed these people? It seems much more likely to me, as crocs are most definitely the more violent of the two species. They are also bigger, and less picky about what they pick off.

  18. DWA responds:

    Oh, it’s well known that Florida has both crocs and gators. But gators are the culprit.

    1. The folks that did the autopsies would certainly have considered the difference.

    2. The areas in which these killings occurred do not, so far as is known, have crocs, which are only found at Florida’s southern tip.

    3. Both crocs and gators are equally “violent” toward critters they’ve ID’d as prey. And gators are more likely than crocs to consider people as potential menu items.

    4. There are tons — and tons — more big gators in FL than there are big crocs. (And in both species the big ones get about the same size.) The laws of chance greatly favor gators as the culprits, even if 1 through 3 didn’t cinch it.

    It’s much more likely in my opinion, in fact certain, given the above, that gators did this. They have enjoyed very good times in Florida over several decades of hunting restrictions; both parties have gotten extremely comfortable with one another.

    Which for neither party is a good idea.

  19. DWA responds:

    I should have added that the croc in question here is not only very rare — something that makes it an unlikely culprit right off the bat — but also a very different animal from, say, the Nile croc, the Asian mugger, and the Australian saltie, all of which consider people quite yum, thank you.

  20. longrifle48 responds:

    in the case of the jogger..it was mentioned in certain news updates,she was observed,by others as to have been dangling her feet,in the water and subsequently became gator happy meal..i have been close to many huge gators(taking pics)and have had the occasional one hiss and move towards me..this is thier domain and they did not invite me here..use common sense when in gator areas..duhhhh use the swimming pool!!

  21. scmarlowe responds:

    Thanks, LongRifle, I made that prediction as to the how of the attack in a prior comment.

    Thus, I rest my case.

  22. oldbutnotstupid responds:

    I love learning about reptiles. Have since I was a kid. This column is an education on gators from people who know them well. but one thing needs to be said. There are very few out of place gators that weren’t carried there by people sneaking a cute pet home. Gators grow up. So if you don’t know much about them, leave them where they are. They are not cute puppies or kittens, enough said.

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