Do Alligators Attack Kayaks?

Your kayak fishing pursuits could take you into some remote areas, such as paddling through swamps and marshland that covers much of the Southern United States.

In some instances, you can quickly find yourself kayaking with alligators.

You may feel panic, yet not all is bad, and if you can keep out of trouble, you’ll find some of the best fishing.

Alligator on a river

When kayak fishing in areas with alligators, you need to remember they are as afraid of you as much as you are of them, yet you are in their home, and you are the visitor.

To make you aware of the risks, you can go through this guide and find out more about fishing in alligator country and how to make sure you stay safe when you encounter alligators while kayaking.

Is it Dangerous to Kayak with Alligators?

There are cases where alligators bite kayaks or canoes, and this can lead to injuries. One of the most dangerous times can be retrieving fish from the water or keeping fish on a stringer.

When you are fishing in these locations, you need to understand a few things and some warning signs.

Aggressive Alligator

When are alligators the most aggressive?

Alligators typically keep to themselves, thus leaving kayakers alone. You can find certain times; alligators have aggressive behavior.

Alligators are typically aggressive in the mating season, which falls in the springtime when larger numbers of alligators gather at night to mate.

Following mating, the mother alligators build nests in sheltered areas close to water. After the eggs hatch, the mother defends the baby alligators from potential predators.

Male alligators are territorial, and the older, larger males become solitary and aggressive toward younger males.

Behavior of Alligators

  • Alligators have sensitive hearing and hear you paddle from far away. They can slide into the water long before you see them.
  • Alligators go underwater for refuge and stay in the area to protect their territory.
  • Alligators are cold-blooded, thus spend lots of time basking in the sun.
  • Alligators hide around waters where they camouflage themselves to hunt.

What Do You Do if An Alligator Approaches Your Kayak?

No matter if you are in the coastal areas of South Carolina or Florida, you can easily come across alligators when kayaking. Here, you can see what to do if you get too close to an alligator and a couple of other bits of information related to alligator behavior and why they may do certain things.

Hissing: When you hear an Alligator hissing, you are too close. Back off from the area and give it space.

Retreat: The recommendations are you stay 30 feet or more away from an Alligator. On occasions, you could find yourself less than the suggested 30 feet. Suppose you find yourself close to an Alligator, paddle away calmly or back away slowly. Never assume an alligator is docile or slow. Some places can suggest banging your paddle or blowing a whistle if an alligator begins to approach. Much of it will be common sense and depend on the scenario.

Kayaking: When kayaking, stay in the middle of the channel. Stay away from floating plants, branches, logs and stay clear of overhanging trees and plants.

Protective: Never approach baby alligators, and it is advised to avoid any small alligators’ groups less than a foot long.

Fishing: Do not fish in areas around alligators where you see an Alligator interested in your fishing activities. Be careful when disposing of fish scraps or bait when in alligator territory.

Is it Dangerous to Kayak in the Everglades?

If you wish to fish the Everglades in Florida, you can do so without any worry of alligator attacks, as many people do.

Here are some bits of information about fishing and helping to prevent an alligator attack in these areas. (Read What Should You Do When Approaching a Low-head Dam in a Canoe or Kayak?)

You can avoid alligators by kayaking in salt water, not freshwater. Alligators try to avoid it as they can’t live there long-term. However, Florida is home to crocodiles, and these can live in salt water.

Do not feed alligators. Some kayakers can do this, yet the more it happens, the more chances there are of attacks on kayakers. Food draws an alligator close to your kayak and grabs the attention of others. Once you feed an alligator, it will see humans as a source of food.

Don’t use a stringer to keep fish; rather, use a cooler.

Land fish quickly and carefully. You may find it best to use a landing net as a thrashing fish close to your kayak may alert nearby alligators.

Keep hands, arms, and legs inside your kayak at the time. An arm or leg is an easy meal for a hungry alligator. (Find the Best Kayak For Dogs)

To prevent an alligator attack, kayak away from them or be prepared to make loud noises if an alligator approach. Hit the paddle on the side of your kayak, blow a whistle or use a rubber mallet to bank your kayak as some kayakers do.

Do Sharks Ever Attack Kayaks?

It is rare for sharks to attack kayaks. Alligators and kayaks stand more chance of being in the same place and a closer distance to each other.

However, there have been a little over twenty incidences since the 1900s. Much of this is when kayakers paddle or someone canoeing into a feeding area and is mistaken for predators or prey.


Kayaking with alligators is possible without any signs of attacks. Paddling gently without thrashing around too much would be well advised to keep things quiet without drawing attention to yourself.

Gators can lie there all day if they feel they not under threat. They will likely slide into the water, yet that is as much for their safety rather than a gator thinking you are a great meal making your way into their waters. (Read Calories Burned Kayaking)

Any kayaker only has to keep their distance, know a thing or two about alligators, how they react to humans, and you can avoid a kayak attack while experiencing some great fishing.

Do Alligators Attack Kayaks (1)