An Alligator Encounter

by Tina Blue
September 18, 2005

      In August of 2004, a 24-year-old man of my acquaintance (whose name I will not reveal, for reasons that will soon become apparent) was driving north through the Florida Everglades.

      Because he missed a turn, he found himself driving for well over an hour on an isolated stretch of highway in the Everglades. He saw no houses, no businesses, and no police cars at all during that time. Eventually, he needed to go to the bathroom, but as there were no restaurants, gas stations, or rest stops to be found, he decided to pull over to the side of the road to relieve himself.

      But he is no fool. He knows that even if you haven't seen a cop for over an hour, the minute you stop to pee by the side of the road, one will show up to issue you a ticket for public urination.

So he stepped behind a tree, lowered his shorts, and set about his business.

He was in midstream when a 6-foot alligator charged him, jaws gaping and hissing loudly.  The young man scrambled backwards, but he was wearing rubber flip-flops and his shorts were still around his thighs, so instead of escaping, he fell down on his rump. As he later told it, "I screamed like a terrified woman!"

Fortunately for him, his bloodcurdling scream startled the gator and stopped it in its tracks--no more than about two feet away from him.  This bought him just enough time to get away and back into his car, where he then had time to realize that he had, um, peed all over himself.

Well, of course--he was right in the middle of things when the alligator charged him, after all.

      The situation was clarified later by a Texan who has had a lot of experience with alligators and crocodiles. He explained that the gator was almost certainly a female protecting her nest, which the young man had inadvertently threatened when he stepped behind the tree.  But when the Texan was asked whether that meant the gator would not have actually hurt the young man, he said, "Oh, she would have bitten his leg and then she would have gone into a death roll to rip it off. Even if she didn't feel hungry enough to eat him, he would have died from shock and loss of blood."
      So it really was a life-threatening encounter, even though it seemed funny once it was over.

      Of course, the alligator attack isn't what embarrasses the young man and makes him insist on remaining anonymous. Being attacked by an alligator actually has enough adventure and romance to it to make it worth retelling--were it not for that awkward part where he pees all over himself.