Watch This Florida Woman Feed an Alligator Up-Close, With Predictable Ending

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Written by Colby Maxwell

Updated: November 9, 2023

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© Ernie Hounshell/

Feeding ducks at a pond is one of life’s simple pleasures. Sure, a lot of research says don’t feed them bread (despite what we did in our childhood), but switching to other duck-healthy foods isn’t that big of a deal. Still, what nobody has ever debated is whether or not to feed a wild alligator. As one Florida woman is about to find out, there is a reason we don’t feed animals with the ability to kill us.

In a wild YouTube clip, we get to see Florida’s finest on display. The video starts off with a woman on some sort of body of water, crouched down with her hands near the water. In most of the United States, this isn’t all that big of a deal. What makes this act terrifying, however, is that she is in Florida.

Florida, aside from being home to some crazy people, is also home to one of the largest predators in the Western Hemisphere—the American alligator. American alligators (or gators, for short) are well-known creatures and usually rank quite high on the “No Way I’m Getting Near That Animal” list. This woman, however, spurns all wise knowledge and decides she knows what’s best.

More than just approaching the gator, the Florida woman is clearly doing something extra. In fact, she isn’t just saying hello to a wild alligator in a pond, she seems to be feeding it. As she gets down on her hands and knees, she begins tossing food to the deadly animal that could at any moment bite off an extremity.

In what seems to be a familiar relationship, the woman and the alligator get quite close, with the woman tossing little bits of food into the gator’s open mouth. Then, as we all would expect, the alligator gets just a bit too close, and the woman starts yelling.

Shipwrecked man with crocodilians

There is a reason we don’t feed animals, like


, with the ability to kill us.

©Michael O’Keene/

Inching closer, the gator gives a few preemptory snaps of its jaws, trying to show that it wants more food, and it wants in. Incredibly, in a show of bravery that only a Florida woman could muster, the woman gets closer to the gator and audibly yells at it to go away.

Somehow, the woman is able to leave the situation without a scratch, although the relationship with her alligator friend seems to have been damaged. Unfortunately, situations where humans feed potentially deadly animals like this happen all over the world, and the results are usually bad.

Now, it is possible that this alligator will approach other humans, hoping for food since it has been fed before. If that happens enough, it is very likely that this gator will be removed and possibly euthanized as a potential threat to other humans. It wouldn’t be the alligator’s fault, although it would be the one to bear the consequences of the situation.

Alligator eating

Feeding a wild alligator without a way to keep your distance probably isn’t the best idea.

©Peter Aronson/

What is the moral of the story? Don’t feed animals that can hurt other humans. Otherwise, you may end up having the animal killed instead!

Is it Normal For Alligators to Attack People?

No, alligators do not normally attack people. While alligators can be dangerous and have been known to bite humans when provoked, these attacks are extremely rare. Alligator bites usually only occur when an individual attempts to feed them or handles them inappropriately. Alligators typically avoid human contact and will flee if encountered in the wild. That being said, it’s still important for people to take caution while in areas that may contain alligators, as they can become aggressive if startled or threatened. It is also important to note that alligator populations tend to increase near large bodies of water such as rivers and lakes due to their affinity for aquatic habitats. So it is best practice always remain vigilant while visiting these locations.

Alligator at Everglades National Park, Florida

Alligators live for up to 70 years.


Where Do Alligators Live?

Alligators can be found in the swamps, marshes, and wetlands of the southeastern United States. They are also found in parts of China, Central America, and South America. In the U.S., alligators primarily inhabit Florida and Louisiana, with smaller numbers inhabiting parts of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Alligators typically live near slow-moving rivers or bodies of water, such as lakes or ponds that have plenty of vegetation for food sources like fish or frogs. They will often use their powerful tail to push themselves out of shallow waters onto land where they can bask in the sun on a warm day to regulate their body temperature.


Alligators can often be found sunning themselves on the shore. The heat helps them digest their food.

©Danita Delimont/

Alligator Lifespan

Alligators have a long lifespan, with some species living up to 50 years in the wild. In captivity, alligators can live up to 70 years or more! Alligators are considered threatened due to habitat destruction and overhunting of their population. As a result, many countries have put protections in place for alligator populations, including limited hunting seasons and size limits on animals that can be taken from the wild. Despite these conservation efforts, it is still important for people to be mindful of their activities around alligator habitats in order to protect them and ensure they continue surviving into future generations.

Alligator Close Up

Feeding wildlife can also endanger the animals themselves.

©Willyam Bradberry/

How Big Are Alligators?

Alligators come in a range of sizes, from the relatively small Chinese alligator to the much larger American alligator. The former typically grows to around 5.9 feet in length, while the latter can reach lengths of up to 15 feet or more.

The American alligator is the largest reptile in North America and is found in swamps, wetlands, and rivers throughout the southeastern United States. The Chinese alligator, on the other hand, is much smaller and is only found in the Yangtze River valley and eastern China.

Alligators also have differences in their weight. The American alligator can weigh up to 1,000 pounds, while the Chinese alligator often tops out at around 45 pounds. The American alligator is also able to live up to 60 years in captivity, while the Chinese alligator has been known to reach up to 50 years of age.

In addition to the differences in size and weight, there are also differences in behavior between the two species. The American alligator is much more aggressive and territorial, while the Chinese alligator is typically more docile.

Overall, when it comes to alligators, size really does matter. Knowing their size and behavior can help you identify which species you are dealing with and how to handle it properly.

Young Chinese alligator basking in the sun on a rock

This Chinese alligator will measure 5-7 feet long and weigh 50-100 pounds as an adult.

©Andy Crocker/

Alligator vs. Crocodile: What is the Difference?

When trying to differentiate between a crocodile and an alligator, it is important to note the physical features that set them apart. Alligators have wider snouts than crocodiles, giving them a more rounded shape compared to the pointed nose of crocs. Additionally, alligators tend to be darker in color with rough scales on their backs and sides, while crocodiles are lighter in color with smooth skin along their back.

Another way to tell them apart is by looking at the fourth tooth on either side of their lower jaw. For an alligator, this tooth will fit into an external socket when its mouth is shut, whereas, for a crocodile, it will remain visible even when its mouth is closed. Finally, although both species can be found in tropical climates such as Florida or Louisiana (for American Alligators), you’re more likely to find a Crocodile living near saltwater since they prefer brackish estuaries or marine environments.

Crocodile vs. Alligator
Alligators are smaller, darker-colored, and less aggressive than crocodiles.

How Feeding Wildlife Endangers Them

Feeding alligators is generally not recommended as it can be dangerous for both humans and the alligator. Alligators have a natural fear of humans, but when they are regularly fed by people, they begin to associate humans with food and lose their instinctive wariness. This makes them bolder around people, increasing the likelihood of an attack or other dangerous encounters.

In addition to putting human safety at risk, feeding wildlife can also endanger the animals themselves. When animals become dependent on human-provided food sources instead of naturally occurring ones in their environment, they may struggle to survive if these food sources are disrupted or removed, whether accidentally or intentionally. Furthermore, providing unnatural foods like bread and marshmallows can cause serious health problems for wildlife, such as obesity, malnutrition, tooth decay, and digestive disorders.

Alligator hatching

Alligators are considered threatened due to habitat destruction and overhunting of their population.

©Heiko Kiera/

Other Animals That Live in Florida

Aside from alligators, Florida is home to a wide variety of other animals. Some of the most common wildlife in the state include deer, foxes, raccoons, bobcats, wild boars, armadillos, and opossums. Birds such as owls and pelicans are also commonly seen in Florida’s wetlands and woodlands. Of course, no list of Floridian wildlife would be complete without mentioning manatees! These gentle giants can often be found swimming along the coast or gathering in estuaries near rivers. Additionally, there is a large population of snakes living within the state, which includes both venomous species like rattlesnakes as well as non-venomous varieties such as garter snakes.

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About the Author

Colby is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering outdoors, unique animal stories, and science news. Colby has been writing about science news and animals for five years and holds a bachelor's degree from SEU. A resident of NYC, you can find him camping, exploring, and telling everyone about what birds he saw at his local birdfeeder.

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