What to Do if You’re Staring Down an Alligator

Hint: Don’t run in a zigzag motion.

A Florida man was killed last month after he allegedly hid from police near a lake, where he encountered a “rather aggressive” 11-foot-long alligator that dragged him underwater, drowning him. In 2014, Paca Thomas explained how to react if you encounter a potentially dangerous alligator in the wild. The video is reprinted below.

Despite frequent grim headlines, fatal crocodile and alligator attacks, like shark attacks, are quite rare. In the United States, only 13 people are known to have died from such attacks between 2000 and 2010. But how common are they, and what should you do if you find yourself face-to-face with an alligator? It does not involve running in a zigzag motion.