Jack Hanna Speaks Out About Alligator Attacks Following The Disney Tragedy

Jack Hanna is a name known around the world, as he is one of the biggest wildlife and animal activists there are. This is why when Jack Hanna said killing Harambe, the 17-year-old gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, was the right thing to do after a child got into the exhibit and was picked up by the gorilla, many stopped questioning it. Following the Disney alligator attack that took the life of a two-year-old, Jack Hanna has come forward again to tell people what he thinks they need to know about alligators.

The Washington Post reports that, according to Jack Hanna, it is currently breeding season for alligators. So, a lot of the alligators out and about are simply looking for mates. Alligators are also able to go six months to a year without eating anything. For this reason, it is possible that alligator attacks are the result of an alligator looking for food. It is not uncommon for alligators to migrate a great distance as they look for food and mates. You may see them crawling through pipes, wading through swamps, and walking down roads or sidewalks.

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According to NBC News, alligator attacks are a rarity, and most of the time they are not fatal. Roughly 90 percent of alligator attacks that happen in the U.S. happen in the state of Florida. Between the years of 2010 and 2015, there have been 56 different alligator attacks and only one of the alligator attacks resulted in a fatality during that time frame. The biggest reason for this is the fact that alligators that make up the majority of the alligator population are small and do not pose a threat to humans. It was, unfortunately, a much larger-than-average alligator that attacked the toddler in the Disney resort.

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“This gator comes up there like a bullet, and the father — God bless his soul — had no chance,” Jack Hanna told ABC News, “because, once a gator clamps down, the jaws are the most powerful jaws of any animal in the entire world.” Hanna went on to reveal that even the best-made attempts by the father to save the toddler who was attacked by the alligator likely wouldn’t have been enough.

“It’s one of these things that happened that’s just a terrible, terrible accident.”

Jack Hanna reveals that alligators are typically afraid of humans and prefer to leave them alone.

The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission describes alligators as feeders of opportunity. An alligator’s diet includes “prey species that are abundant and easily accessible. Juvenile alligators eat primarily insects, amphibians, small fish, and other invertebrates. Adult alligators eat rough fish, snakes, turtles, small mammals, and birds.” Alligators have also been known to feast on dead animals and other alligators.

“The person is the last thing a gator wants to go for — they’re afraid of human beings,” Hanna reveals. “However, if it was hungry when this thing was happening, and there were ankles splashing around there, that to the gator is something the gator may want.”

Jack Hanna reveals the reason why alligators are so dangerous is because they are hard to see and next to impossible to outrun. Jack compares alligators to submarines saying that they will poke their eyes above the water if they want to see or just stay under the water to hear and feel the vibrators of its next prey.

“When a gator comes out of the water, it’s like a bullet. They can outrun any human being on Earth in the first 20 to 30 feet.”

Jack Hanna says the best advice he can give to people who are worried about alligator attacks is to maintain a safe distance from them and anywhere they might be.

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The Following Are Quick Tips Jack Hanna Has Provided

  • Never feed alligators.
  • Stay at least 50 feet away from one, even if you are trying to take a picture of it.
  • When swimming or participating in water activities, stick to areas where alligators are not known to live.
  • Stay far away from their nests as they are very protective.
  • Never assume an alligator is dead because you see it lying on the road. It is not uncommon for an alligator to lie down on a road simply because it is hot.

In the heat of an alligator attack, the best thing a victim can do is fight back by kicking and screaming. Bystanders should also make as much noise as possible. The alligator will flee if it thinks it cannot take down the prey or it gets scared.

NBC News also reports that one of the most common reasons alligator attacks occur is because someone tried to capture or pick up the alligator. In this situation, the alligator attacks are nothing more than the scared alligator trying to defend itself. Had the people in this situation not messed with the alligator, the alligator would have likely left them alone.

Keeping a safe distance is what Jack Hanna considers to be the best piece of advice anyone can give regarding alligator attacks.

[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]