Do alligators ever harass hikers?

1:52 p.m. on April 17, 2007 (EDT)
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I may be going to grad school in Gainesville, FL. There's a couple of national forests near Gainesville and I'm curious to hear about camping in the area. Is there any good hiking or is the state just too flat to be all that enjoyable? Do more people tend to camp out of their car? Or is canoeing/kayaking more popular? I'm moving from the Carolina's so camping in Florida would probably be completely different for me. Any insight would be appreciated.

3:42 p.m. on April 17, 2007 (EDT)
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you could get into a little trouble if your swimming in the swamps alone at night with a poodle around your neck.

Seriously, alligators used to be everywhere, but unless you are hiking along a river, lake or thru swamps the chances of seeing one is pretty remote (although I bet they will see you). They will normally slide into the water when they hear someone approaching.

Unless you are really careless, you have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than you do of getting hurt by an alligator.

I'd be more concerned about the bears than the alligators, poisonous snakes, spiders, chiggers and ticks.


Lots of great hiking trails in Florida.

If your looking for backpacking, do a web search on Florida National Scenic trail and the Florida Trails.

If you want car camping, Ocala National Forest is ok.

Keep in mind that most people car camping in Florida are either tourists or good 'ole boys and you'll have to put up with their fires, lanterns, kids screaming and drunken yelling. The adult campers are even worse.


kayaking and canoeing is popular during the winter months, but water-skiing and wakeboarding are the more popular sports.

Most serious campers who live in Florida hibernate from Late March thru late October. Camping season starts when the weather cools down, the bugs aren't as bad and the daily deluge and lightning storms cease.


Ed G
Clermont, Fl

1:09 p.m. on April 18, 2007 (EDT)
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Thanks for the thoughts. It sounds like if I want to really get away, I'll have to strap on my backpack so its not too different from NC/SC in that regard. I felt stupid asking about the alligators, but I couldn't find any resources about alligator attacks. I kind of figured it meant they didn't happen very often, but I just wanted to be sure.

12:57 p.m. on April 19, 2007 (EDT)
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And on the pct some hikers worry about bears! You can keep the gators; I love the bears :)

are we there yet

2:25 p.m. on April 19, 2007 (EDT)
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As far as gators in Florida, you should always assume that any body of water in Florida can potentially have gators. Don't just assume that you will see them. They will follow you underwater near the shore and if you get too close ..... Since they were put on the endangered species list they have made a come back and are now in good supply.

9:12 p.m. on April 20, 2007 (EDT)
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I'm so glad you asked this question!! I'm new to florida(jacksonville) and was wondering the same thing. I've seen all of thiese photos of the florida trail in south florida were the trail is totaly underwater. is it safe to walk in that? what about sleeping in a hammock?

8:46 a.m. on April 21, 2007 (EDT)
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trails in Florida (and in Georgia) are typically underwater during the summer when there are periods of heavy rain.

During times of extremely wet weather, the trails can still be underwater in November.

If your not into bushwacking your way around the wet areas, I find it easiest to remove boots and just wade thru the water barefoot until you get back onto dry trail.

I always have paper towels in my pack to dry my feet.

I have actually waded thru more than a 1/2 mile of knee deep water until reaching dry trail...at night.

You can hear gators croaking all around you and see snakes swim between your legs.

Sometimes southern camping can be quite a rush!

As far as hammock camping, just a problem during summer...the mosquitos can be very loud and tend to keep you awake. Take ear plugs whenever hammock camping.

November 28, 2014
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