Sharks vs. Alligators – Which one is more dangerous to you?

Matthew C. Woodruff
Toy Gator attacked by Toy Shark(

Last Thursday a man swimming in Lake Thonotosassa in Florida got bitten in the face by an alligator. Whether you are a resident or visitor to Florida, you are at risk from both sharks and alligators, but which is more dangerous, and how do you avoid becoming a tasty morsel for either?

It is estimated that 1.3 million alligators live in Florida, that’s about 1 alligator for every 15 residents. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recommends people stay away from alligators, while that may sound like something Captain Obvious would say, there are still about ten newsworthy alligator attacks annually and an average of one death every 3 years.
Gators at Paynes Prairie(photo by Nat Geo)

It is impossible to know how many sharks live in Florida’s coastal waters, but Florida does lead the world in number of shark attacks, an average of 30 per year. There have been no deaths related to shark attacks since 2010. The Florida Museum keeps an International Shark Attack File where you can learn anything at all you ever wanted to know about shark attacks. New Smyrna Beach, Fl. is the shark attack capital of the world. This terrifying photo was taken by a drone just off the beach.
Sharks at New Smyrna Beach(Public Domain License)

Which is more dangerous? Though sharks account for about 3x the number of attacks as alligators, the thing with alligators is, they can be anywhere at any time. Alligators live in or near streams, swamps, lakes, ponds… any source of fresh water. Sharks only live in salt water so are only a danger to people enjoying the ocean.

Here are three ways to avoid alligator attacks, and twelve ways to avoid a shark attack.

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Matthew is an independent journalist, an internationally award-winning author best known for Dark Humor/Lite Horror/Supernatural short stories, as well as an ordained minister who served as a domestic missionary. He is a lover of the unusual, travel, cats and the spark that makes people tick. Matthew is based in Florida, USA.

Gainesville, FL

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