Not everyone in the world or perhaps even the whole United states have the pleasure of peacefully paddle boarding around a bay like many of us here at Paddle Board Nation who live in sunny California. With that being said, many of you might have some local predators to consider before breaking out the paddle boards and having some fun gliding through the water. The main predator that we are going to talk about today is the alligator. We will answer everything you need to know about them and the big question we all want to know, “Is paddle boarding safe with alligators?”.
Typical Alligators Behaviors Around Paddle Boarders
It is quite common to come across Alligators when paddle boarding especially in certain areas of the United States. That is why you will want to familiarize yourself with alligator behaviors around paddle boards to know exactly what to expect when you venture into their environment.
It is not uncommon for alligators to slip under the water when they sense a paddle board approaching. Therefore do not be alarmed if you see this. This is a defensive mechanism they use when they are unsure whether you’re a threat to them or not. Especially when an alligator is familiar with paddle boarders or has seen many paddle boarders in the past.
If Alligators approach this is typically because they are used to being fed by humans. As a simple rule of thumb, you should never feed an alligator as this increases the likelihood that they will approach people in the future and you could injure yourself. in the case that an alligator approaches you while it is on the surface, then retreat as this is abnormal behaviour. When retreating, be cautious as alligators are quick and the situation could become extremely dangerous
Signs of Alligator Life
There are many different signs of alligator life when you are out paddle boarding, and that is why you will want to read this section carefully to ensure that you are safe when around alligators. The first obvious sign of alligators, is an open stretch of water where you can not see the bottom. This section of water is ideal for alligators because it provides a perfect place for the alligators to hide.
Another sign of alligators that you might notice is a section of beaten down vegetation. Beaten down plants are very common in areas with alligators due to the fact that alligators are heavy and low bearing and have to heave themselves out of the water. Oftentimes alligators will use the same route again and again. Which will lead to beaten down vegetation around the water’s edge.
Another sign is a smooth slide area into the water. This is because alligators typically take these paths to reenter the water.
The most obvious and terrifying sign of an alligator happens during mating season. What is this scary sign? It is noise you hear when the male alligator makes a big sound by smacking their mouths against the water.
Is Paddle Boarding Safe With Alligators?
Many of you might still be wondering, is paddle boarding safe with alligators? And to answer it, is yes it is safe to paddle board with alligators but only if you can be wary of them and the fact that you are in their surroundings.
Environments where alligators are more familiar with paddle boarders will be the better alternative to an environment where they alligators are completely unfamiliar with paddle boarders.
While it is unlikely you will be attacked it is not completely uncommon so be prepared. If you are venturing out on a paddle board, make sure you are an experienced paddle boarder and the conditions are good to ensure you don’t fall into the water.
Also, remember that the alligator can only see you from below, or ahead. So we suggest that you ride a larger paddle board to ensure that an alligator does not mistake you for an animal.
What To Do When Paddle Boarding Near Alligators
If you have read through all of this so far and still want to go paddle boarding near alligators then you will need to learn a few rules to stay safe.
Alligators will naturally stay away from humans. But, if you behave frantically and end up falling into the water, you may end up in a bad situation.
Stay Balanced & Paddle Slowly
As you could guess, you don’t want to fall into the water near alligators, that is why you will want to paddle nice and easy to ensure you stay balanced and dry.
Paddle Towards High Activity Areas
The easiest way to stay safe near alligators is to paddle towards areas with more activity. This can include areas where other individuals are congregated. This is due to the fact that Alligators do not like boats, so moving towards boats, land, or people is a good idea if you begin to feel uneasy.
Ride A Larger Paddle Board
The bigger the board the better when it comes to riding near alligators, this is because if your board is bigger than the alligator, it is very unlikely to come near you. Also, keep in mind that if your board seems smaller than the alligators it may be a good idea to slowly retreat because alligators might mistake you for an animal.
Stay Away From Areas With Alligators
This one is probably the most self explanatory but many people might need to still hear it, do not paddle towards areas with many alligators.
What Not To Do Near Alligators
Do Not Feed The Alligator
Many people over the years have thought it is fun to feed alligators but this is really causing a big problem in many areas because this will encourage them to approach individuals. Which ultimately could lead to an attack. Alligators who are used to being fed can and will repeatedly approach people even if you are on a paddle board.
Do Not Chase The Alligator If It Runs Away
If you see an alligator swimming away from you do not try to follow it, this is because if the alligator feels like you are backing it into a corner it may attack you.
Do Not Try To Grab A Baby Alligator
Like most other animals it can be very dangerous to go near a mothers baby and the same goes for alligators. If you try to grab a baby alligator like many very dumb people do, this could enrage the mother and cause the alligator to attack.