• Outdoors Outdoors

Video of tourist group causes stir after dangerously close encounter with alligator: 'Putting not just themselves in danger, but their children too'

"They are way too close."

"They are way too close."

Photo Credit: TikTok

National parks are incredible places to reconnect with nature and create memories. With 429 national parks in the United States, there's something unique and awe-inspiring for everyone.

Visitors can breathe clean air, feel the flowing water, and take in incredible animals. However, like all things, these should be enjoyed with caution

In an Instagram Reel, the outdoor and national parks content hub Tourons of National Parks (@touronsofnationalparks) shared a video of an alligator lying still alongside a group of tourists. 

In the video, the tourists stand along a trail in Everglades National Park. Located in Florida, it is the largest tropical wilderness in the country.

"What is in the gator's mouth??!" the post was captioned

The spectacle was originally captured by Florida-based national park enthusiast Alyssa (@ alyssa_k_ave), who explained to commenters that the alligator had chomped down on a box turtle

When in the presence of an alligator or crocodile, it is recommended to keep a distance of at least 15 feet. 

According to the National Wildlife Foundation, alligators can dig tunnels up to 65 feet (20 meters) long to protect themselves from extreme heat and cold. They can travel as fast as 35 mph on land and 20 mph in water. 

As temperatures continue to rise from planet-warming gases, alligator populations are affected just as humans are. Higher surface temperatures impact how early baby alligators may hatch, per a study by the Journal of Thermal Biology and published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Nesting, however, has leveled off in the last decade. In 2015, high temperatures caused water and salinity levels to increase, flooding low-lying nests. 

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Since national parks preserve natural landscapes and the animals that thrive in them, a mutual relationship of respect must be maintained for both visitors and the inhabitants. Simple actions such as refraining from touching, throwing food to, and getting too close to the animals can go a long way to keep their habitats intact while ensuring safety.

"They are way too close. Putting not just themselves in danger, but their children too," one Instagram user commented. 

"Very fast animal," another wrote.

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