Expert provides advice on staying safe around alligators

Crews pulled a woman’s arm out of a south Florida alligator Friday after she was reported missing while walking her dogs in Davie, FL.

And on Saturday, the FWC announced they found the woman’s body. Officials aren’t sure what happened—as it’s unusual for a gator to attack a human being—but one expert thinks he has some idea, along with tips on how to protect yourself if you ever come face to face with a gator.

This was only one of a handful of attacks on humans seen in the last several years. But experts say the biggest mistakes you can make is being complacent, by assuming an attack like this could never happen to you.

In this case, the woman was probably walking fairly close to the bank of the pond with her dog, and the 12.5-foot gator likely tried to snap up her dog instead of her.

If you ever find yourself face to face with a gator—or worse, if you get bitten by one—you need to act fast.

“You need to hit the alligator in the head. If you have an opportunity, you need to poke your fingers into its eyes. You need to make it let go, because it’s an ambush predator. It really doesn’t want to fight. You need to do whatever you can to get away from the alligator. If you just simply lay down, you’ll become prey,” said gator expert Jeff Quattrocchi.

Another piece of advice if you live near a lake is to walk your pets at least 20 feet away from the water. The distance will provide an easier escape in the event you need one.

“My thought on it is the lady tried to defend her animals, got grabbed by the alligator. It’s a 12 foot alligator, it’s a monster, it’s probably 600 pounds,” Quattrocchi said.

Quattrocchi himself was almost bitten by an alligator eight years ago.

“I had no chance of getting my arm out without a fight,” he said.

He adds that alligators have immense strength in their bite and when they grab hold of something or someone, it only takes seconds for them to make a kill.

“Always be aware, do not let your guard down because there are monsters in the water here,” he said.

And the rumor that you should run in a zig zag to escape an alligator? False. Quattrocchi says doing so could actually make it easier for a gator to catch you.

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