Florida’s Fourth Estate looks at how your cat is like an alligator

Gator expert explains similarities in personality, how to survive an attack

Brandon Fisher with Gatorland joined hosts Matt Austin and Ginger Gadsden on "Florida’s Fourth Estate." He said he has never mistaken a gator for a dog but said their personalities can actually be similar to cats. He said some people nickname them “swamp kittens.”

Florida’s Fourth Estate is taking a walk on the wild side.

As mating season comes to an end and nesting season begins Gatorland said alligators are more active this time of year.

You have likely seen stories of them popping up at schools, in pools and in some cases people getting attacked. In one recent encounter an alligator bit a man who mistook the reptile for a dog.

Brandon Fisher with Gatorland joined hosts Matt Austin and Ginger Gadsden on Florida’s Fourth Estate.

He said he has never mistaken a gator for a dog but said their personalities can actually be similar to cats. He said some people nickname them “swamp kittens.”

“Cats, they’ll do stuff to (make you think) they’re all cute and cuddly and then all of a sudden turn on you. Gators are the same way,” Fisher said.

Fisher said gators lack the part of the brain for feelings and emotions.

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“They do have their own personalities, some more calm than others, some you can really tell they want to be around you... some of them like their butt scratched, you know right on the back of the tail and they kinda wiggle and move with it,” Fisher said.

He went on to say the reptiles he works with every day know and respond to their names.

In the wild, gators don’t respond to verbal commands and can end up in places they don’t belong. Fisher said the weirdest place he has heard of an alligator going is into a house that was under construction.

If you have an unexpected run-in with an alligator, there are some steps you can take to defend yourself.

“Your best bet if you’re in the water and you are able to... stand up make yourself look bigger than that gator is. If you think about it, we still look like monsters to them. They don’t realize that they are bigger than us and can hurt us,” Fisher said.

He added, that typically you will not run into a situation like this because they are afraid of people.

Host Matt Austin also asked about other popular theories when it comes to escaping a gator attack such as jamming your fingers into its eyes or nose.

“The eyeballs is not true. Eyeballs sink right into the sockets in the head to help protect them,” Fisher said.

Though a young girl said she was able to fight off an alligator in 2017 by sticking her fingers in its nose.

“You might get lucky, but it’s not 100% guaranteed,” Fisher said.

He also said punching and kicking the animal’s head will likely just lead to you breaking your hand.


About the Author:

Tiffany produces the 4:30 p.m. newscast and has been with News 6 since January 2019. She also produces Florida's Fourth Estate podcast. She graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in radio/TV. Tiffany has lived in Central Florida since 2004 and has covered the Casey Anthony and George Zimmerman trials and several hurricanes.