- The Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, outside Gainesville, Florida, is home to a herd of wild horses.
- A group of hikers came upon the herd, all descendants of the horses transported to Florida from Spain, grazing the prairie grasses along the trail.
- A large alligator threatened the herd, resulting in one horse attacking the gator – driving him away from the horses’ grazing spot. The women captured it all in an exciting video.
In many respects, Paynes Prairie is exceptional. Visitors to Florida have no other place to see bison and horses wandering freely. The prairie is a large savannah that resembles the Everglades and is an excellent location for camping, hiking, bicycling, and, especially, animal viewing.
The 21,000-acre Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is only accessible from its southern or northern ends and lacks any internal roadways. All of the horses in Paynes Prairie are descendants of those the Spanish transported to Florida. They graze in and around the trail’s flowers and grasses close to the observation deck at the end.
A wild horse and a huge alligator engaged in a stunning battle in front of a group of female tourists, including a woman by the name of Krystal Berry, at the Florida Wildlife Reserve. We at AZA would like to provide a trigger warning because the video contains some disturbing material.
The party observed a young horse and many wild horses feeding in the field next to the walkway. “The alligator walked beside them and paused,” Krystal Berry mentions. “The horse kicked the alligator, which made it waddle across the trail,” she continues. “Then, the horse started attacking again,” Berry states.
Berry was trekking through Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, south of Gainesville, with three other nurses who go by the moniker “A-Team.” Berry’s video depicts a black horse breaking away from its herd and trampling the alligator after deciding that it was too near for comfort. It doesn’t take long for the gator to strike back, leaving the A-Team in absolute shock.
Both creatures didn’t appear to have sustained serious injuries despite the spectacular but brief combat. The fight allegedly took place next to an alligator-filled ditch, off the La Chua Trail, per a local newspaper. Although wild horses and bison occasionally graze along this trail, a state biologist told the news outlet that she was unaware of any other instances similar to this one.
Alligators are predators, and the horses are aware of this. We enjoy speculating about the thoughts of other creatures, therefore we would suppose that, for whatever reason, the horse most likely thought the alligator was in a dangerous situation.
Someone on popular coverage of the dual commented “Horse: “See you later!! Alligator!!” Alligator: “Whoa hold your horses!!” We can’t help but laugh at the quick wit of some online viewers. The alligator ultimately crossed the trail and hid in the woods from the horses.
Where Do Horses Originate?
Horses are believed to have originated in the steppes of Central Asia around 4-5 million years ago. The earliest known horse, called Eohippus, was a small, four-toed animal that lived during the Eocene period. Over time, horses evolved and developed into the larger, single-toed animals that we know today.
They were domesticated by humans around 4000-3500 BC and have been used for transportation, agriculture, and warfare throughout history. Today, horses are also used in sports and recreation, such as racing, jumping, and dressage.
How Long Do Horses Live?
The lifespan of a horse can vary depending on the breed, care, and genetics. On average, horses live between 25-30 years. However, some horses can live much longer, with some reaching their 40s or even 50s. The life expectancy of a horse can also be influenced by factors such as diet, exercise, and regular veterinary checkups.
A horse’s breed also plays a role in determining its lifespan. For example, Thoroughbreds, which are used primarily for racing, have a shorter lifespan compared to other horse breeds, typically living between 20-25 years. While some pony breeds like Falabella can live up to 40 years.
Proper care and management can also greatly extend a horse’s lifespan. Regular veterinary checkups, proper nutrition, exercise, and grooming, and keeping them free from diseases and injuries can help to ensure that a horse lives a long and healthy life.
Do Horses Normally Attack Alligators?
Though horses are not considered predators, they can possess natural aggression that they sometimes use to improve their place in a herd’s order. Hormones, genetics, stress, and fear can all act as stimuli that bring out a horse’s hostile side. This video demonstrates that any animal, even one as fearsome as an alligator, is at risk when near a horse that feels threatened.
Wild horses perceive humans and dogs as potential threats. If approached too closely, these horses may react by charging, kicking, or biting in self-defense. To ensure the safety of both yourself and your pet, it is recommended to observe the horses from a secure distance.
What Other Wildlife Is Found At Paynes Prairie Preserve?
There are a lot of activities to do when visiting Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park but there are two specific trails where you must be careful. Bolen Bluffs Trail and La Chua Trail. Pets are not allowed on either of these trails and when visiting with small children, it is recommended that you remain on the boardwalk.
These trails provide great opportunities for bird-watching. It is highly suggested to carry a walking stick when you hike off the boardwalk as this is where the wild horses, bison, and alligators are located. Throughout the preserve, you can also find Virginia white-tailed deer, bobcats, woodpeckers, and wild turkeys.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Makarova Viktoria/Shutterstock.com
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.