Florida is known for having a lot of weird news stories. There is even a popular meme where you search "Florida man" as well as your birthday and you get your own "Florida man does something crazy" type of story. Who knows why, but Florida continues to be a hot bed for interesting events.
Florida has a lot of crazy stuff - like Bath Salts, for example. The "popular" "drug" that turns people into flesh-craving zombies. Another thing that Florida has are alligators. Florida is the home to alligators. You'll often find them in backyards, parking lots, and anywhere else where they want to go.
Now Florida has another weird story to add to its resume, and of course this story involves alligators. For some reason alligators keep attacking men in Florida. Is this a case of rabid alligators? No. The answer is much more Florida than that. It has to do with the fact that men keep trying to feed them.
A recent study aimed to look into alligator attacks to figure out who is getting attacked the most, and why they are getting attacked. As it turns out, men in Florida are the ones who get attacked by alligators the most. On top of that, they are mostly getting attacked because they are trying to feed the animals. The study went as far back as 1971 to look at trends and demographics, as well as where the attacks tend to take place.
The data included 310 unprovoked attacks, 62 unintentionally provoked attacks, and 219 provoked attacks. An unintentionally provoked attack might be where someone didn't mean to get in the way of the alligator. Provoked attacks would include things like transporting or farming alligators. Some of the cases do include people doing intentionally dangerous things like swimming towards alligators.
The study can be found in The Journal of Wildlife Management and was conducted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Astonishingly, 81.4 percent of the victims were men. Oddly enough, 76.9% of the alligators who attacked were also men. This goes against the common belief that alligator attacks are commonly done by female alligators defending their young.
Bizarrely, 34.7% of the attacks came from people trying to feed the alligators. That means that a major fraction of alligator attacks could be easily avoidable just by not feeding the creatures. A major location for these attacks are golf courses. One golf diver "was bitten on four coccassions over a 15-year period" according to researchers. Most of the golf course attacks take place when golf divers search for balls or golfers search for their lost balls near the water.
Since 1971 there have been 22 fatal alligator attacks. According to the researchers, "Twenty of the victims died of either hypoxia from drowning by the alligator or exsanguination [loss of blood] from dismemberment. Two victims incurred survivable injuries but one later died of a blood clot and the other died of a systemic inflammatory response syndrome. Alligators causing fatalities fed on the victim following the initial attack in 10 incidents."
One comforting piece of data is that there were no alligator attacks where an alligator chased a human on land. This dispels the long held theory that alligators could run a human down on land. THe researchers address how the study can help people better understand the truth behind alligators. "This case, and accounts generated from it, point out the problem with preā?conceived beliefs about how alligators prey on people and how those notions can become entrenched into popular beliefs about alligator behavior."