Kayaking With Alligators & Crocodiles – Is It Safe To Kayak With Alligators?

You have had your jaunts in calm water or gator-free places all your life. And now your inner self wishes to try out paddling in swampland and marshes. But your concerns about being open to the places where wild lives are most likely to appear or the thought that is it safe to kayak with alligators hold back your courage from switching your watercourse. Like there might be alligators basking at the shore already or they may appear from nowhere and attack your kayak amidst the water and startled you or ripped your kayak with their mirror edge sharped teeth.

But wait, Alligators and kayaks in the same waters? Isn’t it quite strange? It sounds like a nightmare but,

The rate of kayaks being attacked by gators appears fairly low. The statistics do not say that they will always be innocuous whenever you would enter their habitat. Rather, the alligators tend to stay at their places until they find a probable reason to attack you. Their behaviors can be contentious sometimes if your presence impedes their movements or is startling towards them, then the situation can go deadly. Therefore, attacking kayaks is not something we can assure has never taken place.

kayaking with alligators

With that being said, alligators seem to be pretty rare in the Northern United States. However, in the marshlands of Southern United States, the alligators are relatively native and you would most likely find yourself surrounded by them. But the thing to act upon if you are a kayaking freak is to never let those primordial reptiles dispirit you.

Nonetheless, before you step forward to your next alligator kingdom, it is indispensable to have a basic comprehension of warning indications and their behavior so you could know what to consider and what to avert. Though you must make considerable preparation to kayak in alligator’s territory so you can be safe from a potential threat.

Typical Alligators Behaviour

Since nature has chosen the reptiles to be cold-blooded so you would most probably find those gators basking at the swamp shore. However, they seem to exhibit quite territorial behavior, which means they do not have direct encounters with kayakers and they will often choose to stay in their places. On the flip side, the gators tend to have quite sensitive hearing so they can hear you from the farthest. Only when your presence would throw an alarming sign at them, they will potentially prefer to slide in water in order to hide their selves.

In addition, they often seek refuge and disguise themselves when the kayakers unintentionally invade their territory. Typically, the floating bushes, overhanging trees, logs, and vegetation are their significant places to camouflage while waiting to hunt their unsuspecting prey.

Do Alligators Attack Kayaks? Alligators & Their Warning Signs

One of the most usual and prominent signs of alligators is going back into the water when kayakers arrive. The indication can either be due to aggression or defense. Alligators act like traps. They can be seen to be very reclusive so you probably will not find them prowling around the water in the daytime. They generally acquire a sit-and-wait strategy. The strategy often includes submerging in water for extended hours waiting for prey to trap while only permitting their muzzles to resurface whenever their respiratory choke due to less breathability.

When alligators feel endangered, their primal defense is sliding back into marshes. However, there are certain times the alligators will not choose to drawback is when the female alligator is patrolling their nest and young ones. Showing you the particular signs you must not ignore to prevent confrontation.

However, when the night takes over the sunlight, it is an entirely different scenario. Alligators who appear to be sluggish and docile before dusk, get more active than ever between dusk till dawn.

Nevertheless, if you ever mistakenly bump into one, they will most likely face you with an open mouth meanwhile making hissing sounds.

If something like this happens then do not get panicked, the best way to control the situation is to paddle back to the shore as slowly and steadily as possible.

When They Appear Most Aggressive?

Usually, in mating times, they become even more aggressive to guard their nest and baby alligators. Though the male ones can be seen as extremely aggressive.

Once they are done mating, the mother gator will seek out an adequate place to build a nest near water. The process of protecting their young ones will continue until the incubation period. This makes sure that the predators will not snatch their eggs. Since the fact of protecting them makes them even agitated, thus the idea of visiting the alligators in this season is complete claptrap.

The same gesture goes for baby alligators if you are about to visit them. Remember, where there are baby alligators, there will always be mother alligators around them to guard their babies.

What If The Alligator Approaches Your Kayak?

There are two possible reasons for which the alligator approach the kayakers. One reason is that the kayakers have fed them several times, making them habituated to humans. However, many experts suggest never feeding alligators as this can bring them close to you, thereby intensifying the risk of several accidents.

Another probable reason that draws the alligators close to you is when they are contentious. While in both scenarios there is a possibility of confronting attacks. Moreover, it is preferable to make loud sounds by hard-hitting the paddle on the kayak as this makes them frightened. Thus, it is advisable to bring the horn for such circumstances.

Kayak Fishing In Alligators Territory

Southern States’ lakes, rivers, canals, swamps, and marshes are often home to alligators.  Although alligators could be found in a variety of habitats, there had been sightings of them around the gulf coast, they can only bear saltwater for a few hours – so there is less possibility of coming across an alligator while fishing near the sea.

No, we ain’t advising you to skip kayak fishing in these places. Rather, the population of alligators somewhere is an indicator of productive fishing spots.

But keep in mind, do alligators attack kayaks? Yes, they will and try to steal your catch and feed themselves. Of course, who else hates getting paid to do nothing.

Beyond using common sense, here are some precautions to take when kayak fishing in areas with alligators.

  • Avoid using a stringer to keep your fish. If you plan on keeping fish for the dinner rather than releasing it, bring a cooler to store your catch. If there is a stringer of fish trailing from your yak, you could possibly be followed by alligators.
  • Catch your fish carefully and land quickly. A net might be helpful for you to land your fish. Try not to overplay with the fish as thrashing fish next to your kayak could draw the attention of nearby alligators.

Inflatable Kayaks & Alligators

I read a story a few years back of a woman paddling an inflatable kayak in Florida and it got bit by an alligator. The air rushing out of the tube scared the gator off and she stayed upright. She said had she been in a hardshell she would have capsized.

But I won’t agree with her here; I would always use a hard plastic kayak.

The reason, I am pretty sure that this will protect me if attacked by an alligator. Secondly, I treat all types of water as the alligator’s habitat. Last but not least, I keep my hands and feet inside the vessel throughout my journey.

Imperative Safety Tips Through Alligator Territory

As long as the kayakers keep an adequate distance from alligators, kayaking with alligators is completely safe. Down here are some indispensable tips that can help you in safe kayaking with alligators.


kayaking with alligators

For a good reason, it is restricted feeding alligators. Because it increases the likelihood of alligators losing the fear of humans. Hence, increase the possibility that they approach and ultimately attack the kayakers. Therefore, if you ever find an alligator coming close to you, it is because someone has fed them formerly. Though the behavior is not something to overlook, hence, it is better to leave the place because you may be at the risk of being attacked.


Indeed, you have never thought of your dog to be eaten alive. Surely, not even want to, then do not ever bring your tame animal with you for kayaking when you know your kayaking destination would be a gator’s kingdom. And is mistakenly they see your pet they will want them as a food source, thereby increasing the likelihood that they attack the kayak to grab it.


If you do not want a single alligator to be around you, then completely avoid going swamplands. This will automatically reduce the risk of an alligator’s attack. Simply opt for the locations where you know alligators are not native. Keep in mind that not most of the places are alligators restricted. This way you still have numerous kayaking options to choose from.


kayaking with alligators

If you have implemented all the above tips but still alligator moves toward you, then what would you do? Here is the solution. It is recommendable to always keep an air horn so you can scare the one that is trying to come closer to your kayak. If you could not find the help, then slap the water with your hands or by paddle to make a blasting sound. The vibrations that occur in the water are particularly the sound alligators are sensitive to. Else you can even use your vocals to scare off the gator.


There are certain rules for entering into someone’s territory. Thus, before we even think that is it safe to kayak with alligators, we must remember the rules and awareness to enter the alligator’s kingdom.

Try once to follow all the tips that particularly are rules to them, and witness the behavior they show, that might your companions do not believe if you tell them later. By following the tips and instructions we have highlighted above you will get to know that these gators are not as frightful and terrifying as it seems.