American Alligators – the wilder the better
Let’s discuss alligators for a minute. At least once a week we get the“Is it safe to kayak next to alligators?” or “Will the alligators jump into my canoe” question. Usually the question is accompanied by an apology or embarrassment, “Please don’t laugh at me but will an alligator…”
There is no need to apologize or be embarrassed by a question, you are not the first to ask and you will not be the last. We enjoy sharing our knowledge and correcting misinformation or calming fears.
Wild alligators are actually quite safe to be around if you follow a simple rule. Don’t approach the gator and the gator will not approach you. Of course these are wild animals and there is always a chance in nature but in our 40 plus years in the Louisiana outdoor business we’re never had a gator even snap or grunt at us during a tour.
Alligators can become dangerous to humans when fed and “tamed” by people. A wild alligator wants to avoid you but alligators who are feed become comfortable swimming up to boats expecting foods.
One of the reasons we choose to tour down the bayous we paddle is because the wildlife in the area is still actually wild. We would never choose to lead a canoe and kayak swamp tour in the same location a pontoon boat dangles chicken over the side to encourage gators to come up to the boat.
Experience is crucial when leading canoe and kayak tours into the swamps around New Orleans, luckily we have a few more years under our belts than most in the area.
Here just a few American Alligator facts to peak your interest in these amazing creatures:
- Estimating the distance in inches between the gators nostrils and eye is almost a direct ratio of how long they are in feet from nose to tail.
- The American Alligator was listed as a threatened species in the late 60s and was on its way to the endangered species list but the population is now surging.
- Unlike their cousins the crocodile, the American Alligator is considered non aggressive
And remember, How do you tell an alligator from a crocodile? Easy, one will see you later and the other will see you after a while.