ORLANDO, Fla. - From the prehistoric era to the digital era, alligators have survived evolution and become part of jaw-dropping images that are regularly found on social media. Anyone thinking of trying to capture a picture perfect image of one of these amazing creatures might want want to consider how close is too close.
Alligator expert and media productions director for Gatorland Park in Orlando Brandon Fisher said it's best to keep the large reptiles at a distance.
"You don't want to get very close to them. These guys are unpredictable, you never know," said Fisher, who has been working closely with alligators for 14 years.
Fisher said spectators need to stay at least 30 feet away from alligators if they want to safely snap a picture, because although they look slow their size makes up for speed.
Did you know that this leucistic gator is 1 of 14 in the world? It’s located @Gatorland where I had the chance to learn more about these fascinating reptiles for a story that aired on #news6at9 Big thanks to the wonderful folks at #Gatorland that helped us! You guys are great! pic.twitter.com/Syk5Gt1JF3 — Carolina Cardona (@carocardonatv) July 2, 2018
"They start at 9 miles an hour. It's that first jump. And then that first jump they can cover about 10 to 15 feet in that first jump," Fisher said. "If you're within those 10 feet, you can have some problems. They're fastest when they're about 8 to 9 ft long."
Fisher said the alligators visitors see up close at Gatorland are not considered wild because the were born at the park and they're used to seeing people and being fed beef.
Alligator experts say that these amazing creatures are not aggressive, but their reaction to some people's mistakes make them appear like hostile reptiles.
"Alligators don't see people as food, we are way too big, they don't want to attack us," Fisher said. "People do a lot of stupid things by getting too close to alligators, feeding wild alligators, which is highly against the law in the state of Florida."
Anyone considering "doing it for the gram," trying to snap a selfie with an alligator in the wild, should distance themselves -- a lot -- from the powerful reptile.
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