what do alligators do during a hurricane

What do alligators do during a hurricane? You might’ve heard snakes are able to sense hurricanes and behave differently.

But, does that mean that alligators can also predict bad weather events and behave in a different way?

Some believe that alligators, like other reptiles, can sense atmospheric changes. But, the question is, “what happens to alligators during a hurricane?”

Alligators look for safe places during a hurricane, head toward a higher ground, burrow in the mud, or even hibernate in “holes” to ride out the storm. 

Can Alligators Sense a Hurricane?

can alligators sense a hurricane

Changing atmospheric pressure is often a precursor to extreme weather events like hurricanes, and alligators appear to share this ability with other species.

As a result of these occurrences, they frequently modify their behavior by doing things like relocating to new, more secure areas.

Although we can witness alterations in alligator behavior in response to severe weather, the precise methods by which they detect such changes remain unknown. 

More research is required to test these assumptions, although it is possible that they could detect changes in barometric pressure, humidity, or wind patterns.

Fact: Alligators have been around for over 200 million years, so they truly know how to survive bad weather conditions, including hurricanes and storms. 

Does Marine Life React to Hurricanes?

does marine life react to hurricanes

Marine life reacts to hurricanes for the same reasons as humans do: to stay safe from harm and damage.

However, certain species of animals are more able to ride out or avoid storms than others. One of the best examples is a shark.

A hurricane’s effects on the atmosphere are noticeable even when it is still far out in the distance; the barometric pressure lowers. 

Two weeks before a hurricane, sharks could sense the difference and began to seek refuge in deeper water.

Sharks were able to sense the diminishing air pressure around Hurricane Ian as it strengthened, allowing them to leave Florida well before people were ordered to do so. 

How Can Alligators and Marine Life Sense Hurricanes?

can alligators and marine life sense hurricanes

 Aquatic creatures have developed mechanisms for anticipating storms that are analogous to our own meteorological technologies and observations of the shifting wind and temperature.

They have the ability to quickly flee impending storms thanks to their exceptional swimming skills (some of these are capable of swimming up to 45 miles per hour). 

Can You Get Attacked by Alligators in a Hurricane?

Some people may worry about assaults by wild animals during and after a hurricane because of the widespread displacement of both people and animals.

It stands to reason; with everything else competing for your attention, an alligator assault would be the last thing on your mind.

alligator hazards in hurricanes

It could be more possible in certain areas, like Florida.

The fact that Florida is ground zero for gator attacks across the United States makes matters worse.

In fact, over 376 people got injured with 15 losing their lives in gator attacks between 1948 and 2004.

Fact: The American alligator is more commonly associated with freshwater environments but the Chinese alligator is able to survive in both fresh and salt water. 

The Threat of Being Attacked by Alligators During a Hurricane

While attempting to reach victims of Hurricane Ida, first responders were understandably worried about coming across alligators in the flooded area.

To stay out of the animal’s way, they waited until morning to start their rescue mission.

Attacks by alligators during a hurricane are, thankfully, quite uncommon, but they do happen.

During Hurricane Ida, an alligator in Louisiana attacked a guy. After the woman went to fetch help, she discovered her husband had disappeared.

Alligator assaults like this one after a major hurricane are thankfully not as prevalent as some media reports would have you believe. 

What Do Alligators Do During a Hurricane?

alligator behavior in hurricanes

Animal studies have shown that alligators move to more secure areas as the climate changes.

Under normal circumstances, you can find alligators in places like:

  • Swamps
  • Rivers
  • Marshes
  • And Lakes

However, when a cyclone is imminent, they frequently disperse to safer areas. This may involve going underground.

Here is what alligators do during a hurricane: 

They Move to Higher Ground

they move to higher ground

Alligators can avoid potential flooding from the storm surge by moving to higher ground.

In coastal areas, where storm surge can inundate their typical habitats and wash out alligators, this behavior is especially crucial.

Therefore, they can escape displacement when the water level rises by moving to higher ground

They Burrow in the Mud

Alligators can also find refuge from the storm by burrowing into the mud.

By burrowing underground, alligators can avoid the damaging effects of high winds and torrential downpours.

they burrow in the mud

In addition to providing shelter from the elements, this burrow helps these animals maintain a consistent internal temperature when the weather outside is extreme. 

They May Hibernate

What is more interesting about alligators is that they may brumate, a sort of dormancy comparable to hibernation, during hurricanes.

They may go for long periods without eating in this state because they are able to considerably slow down their metabolism.

This can be especially helpful during hurricane season, when choppy seas and low visibility might make it difficult to go hunting.

Fact: Contrary to popular belief, alligators are quite communicative and interact with each other through a variety of sounds and gestures. 

How Do Hurricanes Affect Alligators?

how do hurricanes affect alligators

Even with various measures in place, alligators are still in danger during hurricanes.

In extreme cases, strong winds and floodwaters can move alligators across great distances from their natural habitats.

It is not uncommon to see alligators in unexpected locations like roadways, yards, and pools after a hurricane.

Displacement can lead to more frequent human-alligator encounters, which is dangerous for both parties.

Alligator nests are often constructed from vegetation at the water’s edge, making them vulnerable to destruction during hurricanes.   

An Important Consideration

Alligators are vital to the ecosystem’s rehabilitation after a hurricane.

“Gator holes,” depressions in the swamp or marsh that collect water during dry periods, are one way in which these animals assist to modify their habitats.

After a hurricane, many different species can return to their natural habitats thanks to these gator holes. 

How to Protect Yourself from Alligators During a Hurricane?

protect yourself from alligators during a hurricane

If hurricanes can cause alligators to come across humans, shouldn’t you be worrying about your safety?

Well, the situation is not as grim as you might feel.

There have been fewer than 350 alligator attacks in the last 60 years, demonstrating how uncommon they are.

The animal is timid and avoids contact with humans because we are not a threat to its survival.

As adults, our height, agility, and speed make us a less desirable target.

Dog attacks and horse attacks on people are significantly more common than alligator assaults.

Fact: The alligator's bite is among the strongest of any animal, but even though have powerful jaws, the muscles used to open them are surprisingly weak. 

Tips to Manage Alligators Encounters During a Hurricane

In the event of a hurricane or otherwise, or if you happen to come across an alligator, it is best to go straight ahead at full speed.

The old adage about avoiding alligators by zigzagging no longer holds water.

managing alligator encounters in hurricanes

Running is the best option because alligators can only sprint at high speeds for brief periods of time.

Because of this, you have a good shot at making it back to safety.

However, the best defense is to avoid an encounter in the first place. Here are a few things to bear in mind:

  • Do not get too close to a gator and know you are too close if they start hissing at you.
  • Ideally, you should always maintain a safe distance of 60 ft.
  • Do not go swimming or exploring in any body of water at night if you can help it.
  • Do not make them angry by trying to grab their tails.
  • Avoid feeding them or other animals that might drink from the same water source.
  • Keep in mind that feeding alligators may cause them to lose their natural aversion to humans.
  • When you go fishing, be sure to throw away any leftover fish scraps. Keep them out of the water.
  • Never, ever approach a nest of baby alligators. Mothers are typically nearby and ready to intervene. 


alligator response to hurricanes

What do alligators do during a hurricane? Like other animals, alligators also look for safer ground and even burrow in mud for safety. 

Alligators’ responses to hurricanes indicate their amazing toughness and flexibility.

They also highlight the importance of each species in keeping ecological balance and the linked nature of ecosystems.

There is a need for additional study into the long-term consequences of climate change and increased storm frequency on alligator populations, as well as the sensory processes that allow alligators to detect approaching storms.