When alligators attack and how to avoid them

Gatorland experts say time of year influences gator's attitudes

ORLANDO, Fla. - As more gator attacks hit the news, it makes residents wonder what causes alligators to attack. Local 6 learned that at the end of August and beginning of September, gators become defensive of their babies hatching out.

Jodi Davis of Wisconsin, toured Orlando's "Gatorland" on Wednesday, where it's safe and legal to feed the gators.

"It's pretty scary, especially when we have kids with us," she said.

Mike Hileman, Gatorland park director, says humans are not typically on the menu for gators, but there are two general reasons why they attack: people are feeding them in the wild, and a female gator is protecting her babies.

"Once you feed an alligator, they start associating us with food, that's a bad idea," he said.

If an alligator does take on a larger prey, Hileman says they'll clamp down with their jaws and start shaking and rolling, taking their bite-size piece and swimming away.

Carol Mellberg, who was visiting the park from Colorado, kept a close eye on her grand kids.

"Everybody, no matter what location they live in, needs to be aware that wild animals are wild," she said.

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