How To Escape & Survive an Alligator Attack

Alligator attacks aren’t too common, but the threat of an attack is still real and absolutely terrifying. 

With 80 teeth and a bite force of 3,000 pounds per square inch, it’s best to avoid getting between the jaws of an alligator as best as possible. 

To make matters worse, alligators can swim at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour, whereas top Olympic athlete Michael Phelps can swim at just 6 miles per hour. 

The average size of an American alligator is 12 feet long, and they are completely merciless when it comes to hunting. 

They prefer to hunt young such as children, elderly, or people that seem unable to escape. 

During mating season or as a result of extreme hunger, an alligator may look to any human as a potential food source. 

Most dangerously is the “death roll.” This is a special trick used by alligators in which - after they have their prey grabbed with their jaws - they roll intensely and quickly to disorientate, dismember, and destroy their prey. 

To watch the video version of this post complete with shocking and fascinating alligator footage, click HERE now. 

You can also download the alligator-free podcast by clicking the podcast widget above. 

How To Survive an Alligator Encounter

The easiest and most obvious way to avoid an alligator attack is to stay far away from water in any regions where alligators are known to live and hideout. 

Alligators thrive in the water, and you’re no match for them within the water. While there are still a few tricks you can try in a life or death situation, it’s best not to fight an alligator in their home territory and out of yours. 

When in an area with alligators, keep a distance of about 15-25 feet away from bodies of water such as rivers and lakes where alligators could be hiding out. 

This is the safest thing you can do - preventing an attack is better than fighting in an attack.

Run Quickly

If you spot an alligator, feel free to run quickly. Unlike other creatures such as bears, running won’t trigger it to chase and attack. 

On land an alligator can travel at a maximum speed of 11 miles per hour. While this sounds fast, the maximum recorded speed of a human is 27.8mph. 

Alligators also can’t maintain this speed for long at all, whereas us humans can maintain 11 miles per hour for much longer. 

No need to zig-zag either, unless you are severely limited in mobility and being attacked. 

Pick a direction furthest away from the water and run top-speed after spotting an alligator, and you’ll be fine. 

Even humans not in the best of shape can rather easily out-run an alligator, so really don’t overthink this. 

If you see an alligator or are starting to be approached by one, run as soon as possible in the opposite direction. You’ll most likely be fine. 

If It Gets You…

Let’s say you were caught by surprise or otherwise caught between the jaws. In this case, you’re gonna have some pain, and every millisecond will matter in determining the fate of this encounter. 

If attacked and unable to run away, fight back, intensely. It’s life or death. 

Attacking the tip of an alligator’s snout or gouging the eyes is your best bet in making it release you. 

Use a rock, knife, tool, or even your hands if you have to. Don’t worry about attacking anywhere else - you won’t be able to deal enough damage and the eyes/snout are the most sensitive areas where the alligator will be most likely to release you. 

The goal is to gouge the eyes or hit the snout and make it release you, if even for a moment. 

After release, refer to the first step and run ASAP in any direction away from the water and you’ll escape. 

Hold the Jaw Shut? 

If you dodge an attack and are in the thick of battle, perhaps stuck in water unable to run away, you can try to hold the alligator’s jaw shut. 

Almost no one would be able to force the alligator’s mouth open while grabbed, but most adults in good health could wrap their arms around the gator’s mouth and hold it shut. 

It’s quite hard for the gator to open their mouth, but easy for it to clamp it shut. Do it and maneuver your way to land where you can run, and keep fighting aggressively by gouging the eyes. 

Escaping the Death Roll

If an alligator begins its death roll, under no circumstance try to resist it. Roll with the alligator as best as you can and maintain the second tip by attempting to gouge the eyes and hit the snout. 

A death roll requires a lot of energy from the alligator and if you aren’t incapacitated by it, you may be granted a second chance at life. 

Summary of an Alligator Attack

In short, avoid alligator attacks by avoiding the water where alligators live. Almost everyone will be capable of running away. If you must fight in land or in water, gouge the eyes and attack the tip of the snout.

Don’t attempt to open the jaw, instead, if free, hold it shut. Roll with the death roll if it triggers this movement. 

And of course don’t forget to yell for help. Fighting, screaming, and receiving backup will only help you. 

If attacked by an alligator, go to the hospital immediately. Even small scratches and bites that don’t appear major could get infected, especially by a deadly alligator. 

Protecting Your Home

We at Wildlife x Team International specialize in safe & responsible removal of wildlife and pests within your home. 

We diagnose the issues, remove the creatures, restore the damage, and prevent it from ever happening again. 

We can’t guarantee the safety of going outside, but you should always be and feel safe within the comforts of your home. 

Contact us at 855-WILDLIFE or by visiting to get more information and report a potential problem. 

-Wildlife x Team International 


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