While watching the news one day, I saw a story about a Central Florida man who lost a few fingers trying to save his dog from an alligator. I couldn’t imagine myself reacting any differently if it was my dog, and as someone who literally lives in “The Swamp”, I became curious as to how often these “beasts” attack. But after extensive research, the results were shocking. Since 1948, when the Florida Wildlife Commission started keeping record, only 22 people have been killed by an alligator. Only 22 people in 60 years. That means that there’s a greater chance of my beloved pooch attacking me than an actual Florida alligator. Harold Nugent, a volunteer I met on the Paynes Prairie Reserve in Gainesville, carries a piece of paper with each victim’s name on it in his wallet. Not as a warning for visitors but as proof that alligators are “loving creatures” and the “gentlest lizards” he’s ever met. But….there’s always a wild card. For Don Goodman, the director of the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens in Gainesville, his wild card’s name just happened to be Mojo, a 12 foot, 400 lb. Florida alligator.
For Don’s story and to hear a little bit more about Harold Nugent, click on the picture below for my investigative piece on alligator attacks in Florida….