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Number 5 Justin Perchalski
Justin Perchalski and several companions were in a swamp, in Florida’s Three Forks County. The men were in a boat when an 11-foot alligator got hooked on their line. Perchalski reached over the side of the boat to pull on the line and bring the massive reptile out of the water. Our next listing is about an alligator that chased a teenage girl up a tree, but before we get to that let’s learn more about these reptiles.
What Is It?
Alligators are large reptiles that belong to the Alligatoridae family and the Crocodilia order. Based on fossil evidence these creatures emerged roughly 37 million years ago. American alligators can weigh over 900 pounds and grow to be more than 15 feet long. Alligators have armored bodies which are covered in scales and bony plates called scutes or osteoderms. Their muscular tails propel them while swimming and they can reach short bursts of roughly 20 mph when travelling on land.
Number 4 Jordan Broderick
15-year-old Jordan Broderick and her family were visiting a creek in central Florida’s Ocala National Forest as a way of coping with the intense summer heat. It was early July, the end of alligator mating season in Florida and a time when they’re more aggressive and territorial. As Jordan was floating on a raft, she noticed that an alligator was heading straight towards her. The teenager reacted quickly and grabbed on to a tree branch that was hanging over the water. The alligator then hissed and waited at the bottom of the tree, only a few feet from her.
Where Is It Located?
There are only two known alligator species, the Chinese alligator and the American alligator with the latter being the largest. The Chinese alligator is extremely endangered with only a few dozen remaining in the wild, in the Yangtze River valley and its provinces. The American alligator is found throughout various parts of the southeastern United States. Florida and Louisiana own the largest alligator populations with over a million in each state. Alligators typically inhabit freshwater environments such as swamps, ponds, marshes, rivers or lakes. They make alligator holes in the wetlands, which increase plant diversity and provide a drought-time habitat for other animals. In this sense, alligators perform an important role in their ecosystem.
Alligators don’t have a reputation of being aggressive towards humans and most of the attacks that occur are instances of misidentification in or near cloudy water. Interestingly enough, alligators are also among the first reptiles known for tool use. They will balance branches and sticks on their heads in order to lure birds looking for nesting material.
Number 2 Lane Graves
In August, 2016, the Graves family was vacationing at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. They had decided to go to the beach after an outdoor movie had been cancelled due to stormy weather. 2-year-old Lane Graves was building a sandcastle near the shore. At one point he bent over to scoop wet sand into his plastic bucket. His father, Matt, was nearby along with Lane’s mother and his 4-year-old sister. Suddenly, the family heard a loud splash.
If you do happen to encounter an alligator, run away from it as fast as you can. Running in zig-zag is generally regarded as a myth so just go in a straight line. In Florida, they usually mate in late May and early June.
Number 1 Hunchback
In 2017, an American alligator was caught on video as it slowly made its way across a path through a natural reserve in Florida. Kim Joiner, the woman who posted the video to her social media, claimed it was roughly 12 feet long. The massive creature bore a strong resemblance to a dinosaur which is why some users online were quick to dismiss the video as a hoax. Nevertheless, a number of wildlife experts pointed out that alligators are, indeed, capable of attaining such proportions.