Alligators are definitely incredibly popular animals, which makes it sad that from time to time we hear about a national news story of a terrible alligator attack. At Walt Disney World, in national parks, even in your own backyard, are you ever safe from alligators? Probably not, especially if you just happen to live in Florida. After all, it is gator land over there. Here is a terrifying list of 15 Shocking Alligator Attacks You Won’t Believe. Some of these are extremely gruesome and horrifying, and the worst part is that they actually happened in real life. They span from the 1990s to present day, and while it seems that Florida is the major hotspot for these attacks, other southern states like Georgia and Texas are also mentioned.
So, how can you protect yourself from a fatal alligator attack? Well first of all, stay out of the dang water. We don’t care how much you love to swim or how good you are at it. Nor is it important how brave you are, this is not an instance to be brave. Alligators warrant full fear and extreme precautions, which is why many residents, officials, and public figures post alligator warning signs outside bodies of water in Florida and elsewhere. Yet some people never learn and choose to jump feet first into these bayous, canals, and lakes anyway. Read on to find out what happens when you don’t heed words of caution and think that you have what it takes to hold your own against a gator.
15 Grace Eberhart, 70 Years Old, Sumter County, Florida
A little old 70-year-old woman, Grace Eberhart, was killed by a group of alligators on October 3, 1993 in Sumter County, Florida. She was apparently caught up in the middle of a feeding frenzy between numerous alligators, and the result was her terrible death. After her passing, authorities in the area were urged to hunker down and get more serious about controlling the wild alligator population. Hey, Florida is just teeming with gators. As for Grace, she had been dealing with a terminal illness and had her neck snapped by the gators before being noshed upon. Authorities rushed to the scene to retrieve Grace’s body, but were only able to get her hands and arms. Several officers stayed at the location, weapons poised, to kill of the rest of the gators. Grace Eberhart was known to sit near the lake in Sumter County in the early hours of the morning.
14 Adam Binford, 3 Years Old, Volusia County, Florida
On March 21, 1997, a 3-year-old boy named Adam Binford was fatally attacked by an alligator in Volusia County, Florida. It’s kind of reminiscent of the recent attack on a toddler at Walt Disney World Resort, isn’t it? Anyway, both were horrible, and Adam’s story includes an 11 foot alligator that was hunted down by a trapper and shot three times with a gun. It was too late though, because Adam was already dead. He had been playing in the shallow waters of a lake with his older brother when an alligator approached quickly and snatched Adam up. Police and investigators surmised that perhaps the alligator had been alerted and tempted to go to the lake’s shallow end because there was a dog with the boys, which would have served as a tasty treat. Sadly, the boy was closer to the alligator which may explain why he ended up being targeted by the gator.
13 Yovy Suarez Jimenez, 28 Years Old, Sunrise, Florida
Yovy Suarez Jimenez was 28 years old when she was killed by an alligator in Sunrise, Florida on May 10, 2008. An autopsy reported that Yovy had both alcohol and drugs in her body that reached toxic levels. The victim was lunged at by an alligator as she was walking along the water’s edge and then was pulled into the water. When she didn’t return from her evening jog, a search was on and it was a group of construction workers who found her dead body in a canal. Even though Yovy had toxic levels of alcohol and Xanax in her system, the cause of death was ruled to be that of the gator attack, although authorities aren’t sure whether Yovy was aware of her surroundings at the time or not. She may have not even been conscious when the attack happened, but it was probably pretty horrific either way.
12 Judy W. Cooper, 43 Years Old, Pinellas County, Florida
Judy W. Cooper, aged 43, was killed on May 14, 2006 in Pinellas County, Florida. It was the first fatal alligator attack in the area since authorities started keeping a record of such incidents. Cooper was visiting Ocala National Forest from Tennessee, and as she was snorkeling near Juniper Run, she was attacked by a wild gator. Police investigated the matter and found drugs near the location where Cooper was killed, causing them to believe that the story of her death was even more complex and dangerous than an alligator attack. Cooper’s body was recovered and an autopsy did not reveal any trauma to her body. Authorities looked up the victim’s address, but when they questioned her neighbors, they said they had no idea who Judy Cooper was. This is a weird story with an unhappy ending! It occurred in conjunction with Yovy Suarez Jimenez’s death as well as Annemarie Campbell’s (who you'll read about next).
11 Annemarie Campbell, 23 Years Old, Ocala National Forest, Florida
Promising 23-year-old artist Annemarie Campbell was killed in Ocala National Forest in Florida on 23, May 14, 2006. She was a regular visitor to the location in Florida, as it was one of her prized vacation spots. Annemarie was snorkeling with some family and friends when she was dragged beneath the water’s surface by a ferocious gator. This is where it gets really dangerous, Annemarie’s brave family and friends tried fighting the gator to free her from its jaws. They even reportedly tried poking its eyes out and tearing open its jaws. It was ineffective though, as Annemarie was killed quickly, suffering severe head trauma and punctured lungs that filled with water. Annemarie’s death by wild alligator was the third one in a 5-day span that also included the two women you read about above. We’re telling ya, people: Stay out of the water if you’re in Florida.
10 Gwen Williams, 83 Years Old, Savannah, Georgia
The southern U.S. state of Georgia had its first horrific and fatal alligator attack in history when Gwen Williams, aged 83, fell victim to a gator on October 5, 2007. Georgia had a total of 8 alligator attacks since it started keeping count in 1980, but thankfully the previous 7 had only caused non-fatal injury.
For Williams, she was unfortunately found in the water at The Landing in Savannah, which was a gated community that she was visiting. Her lifeless body was found by two people passing by on golf carts and the witnesses then alerted the police. An autopsy report found that Williams had suffered severe blood loss from the alligator bites, which took off her left arm, her right foot, and her right hand. There were no eyewitness, but authorities surmised that Williams had been walking along the banks of the water when the gator lunged and attacked. Truly a lesson in the importance of always being aware of your surroundings.
9 Tommy Woodward, 28 Years Old, Orange County, Texas
For this story we go to Texas when on October 19, 2015, Tommy Woodward was killed by an 11 foot alligator in Orange County. According to the police report, the 28-year-old man had taunted and cursed out the alligator before jumping voluntarily into the Texas bayou and being practically eaten alive. Woodward suffered severe trauma to his limbs, and his body was recovered 2 hours later. There were posted warning signs littering the banks of the bayou, as the owner was certain to ensure that visitors knew the waters were alligator infested. That didn’t seem to bother Woodward, who had a “screw them” attitude and jumped in anyway. It was 2:30 in the morning, and Woodward must have wanted to go out for an early morning swim. That, or he was a drunk-crazy Texan who had a serious lack of judgment.
8 Paul Mirabito, 27 Years Old, West Palm Beach, Florida
On May 4, 1985, 27-year-old Paul Mirabito was diving in a canal in West Palm Beach, Florida. He took it upon himself to provide some entertainment and poke fun at the alligators. He was in a diving boat at the time and reached down into the water to punch an 11-foot alligator in the face. Why? Who knows? We can’t ask Mirabito, because he was attacked by the wild gator and died. Even so, the actual cause of death was drowning, but of course the alligator attack played a part in that. After drowning, Mirabito was most likely preyed upon my scavenging gators looking for something yummy to eat. A free meal? They’d go into a feeding frenzy! When Mirabito’s body was recovered from the canal, it had obvious bite marks and abrasions on ⅔ of its body, including the throat and neck. Police later discovered that alcohol played a part in Mirabito’s extremely risky behavior.
7 Richard Zachary Taylor, 72 Years Old, Lake Hunter, Florida
Imagine opening up a suspicious alligator’s mouth and discovering a dead human body in it. Well, that happened in Lake Hunter, Florida when authorities captured a huge wild alligator and revealed its stomach contents. On June 5, 2016, Richard Zachary Taylor, aged 72, was attacked and killed by that alligator, which was 9 feet long. Police had to use the dead body’s fingerprints in order to identify that it was Taylor's body. Due to the decomposition and state of the body, authorities were pretty confident in determining that Taylor had been dead for a few days, yet his bodily remains were still in the gator’s mouth. Talk about gruesome. The guilty alligator was captured by a trapper. Taylor had been living in the Lake Hunter area for about a decade and the police had no record of a home address for the elderly man, leading them to believe that he may have been a local homeless man.
6 800 Pound Gator, Outwest Farms, Florida
An 800-pound alligator, and loads of poor innocent cows. Seems like a news story perfectly fit for the craziness of Florida. In the spring of 2016, a story came out highlighting a 15-foot alligator in Outwest Farms, Florida that was hunted and captured by two local men. The hunters took pictures of the wild gator, which circulated all over the Internet and led to more attention to the news story. The alligator was found in the farm’s cattle area, and its sheer size and weight, as well as its location, led the two men to believe that the gator was responsible for the diminishing cattle population on the farm. Apparently the gator was snacking on the cows and getting free and easy meals for weeks! The men used a freaking farm tractor to pull the alligator out of the water, and then proceeded to kill the gator. They then sold its meat online for charity.
5 James Okkerse, 61 Years Old, Blue Spring State Park, Florida
A 61-year-old swimmer was found dead in Blue Spring State Park in Florida in the fall of 2015. The swimmer had been attacked and killed by a 12-foot-long alligator nestling in the waters of the state park. Passersby found the dead body of James Okkerse floating in the river. Prior to this, Okkerse had been reported missing by his friend when the two of them were out adventuring in the state park. The wildlife authorities at Blue Spring State Park ended up having the alligator euthanized, stating that even if it wasn’t the one that killed Okkerse, the gator was much too big and was a huge threat to the public. The Blue Spring State Park has a water hole and swimming area that is a hotspot for manatees in the warmer months. Unfortunately, loads of angry and deadly reptiles like alligators have been spotted there as well, meaning that if you're in the area, you better be on your guard.
4 Matthew Riggins, 22 Years Old, Barefoot Bay, Florida
Matthew Riggins, aged 22, was on the run from police after burglarizing a home in Barefoot Bay, Florida. The young man was fleeing when he decided to hide in the bay, which was infested with deadly alligators. A big one came up behind Riggins and snapped him up before police could find him. The burglary took place on November 13, 2015, in which Riggins and a compatriot were dressed all in black and had planned to rob a home in the area. Both suspects ran away from authorities, and Riggins was deemed a missing person by the next day. It was ten days later that police and search parties spotted Riggins’ lifeless body in the bay. An 11-foot alligator was seen with the torn up body. Officers had the alligator killed and upon opening its stomach, they found remnants of Riggins’ body. I bet jail really wouldn't have seemed so bad after all.
3 Jessie Kingsinger, 21 Years Old, Lakeland, Florida
Back in May 2016, an adult male was involved in a gruesome alligator attack in Lakeland, Florida. This southern state in the U.S.A. is becoming famous for its reputation of angry alligators and this attack was no exception. This man and Riggins would clearly get along because he was also fleeing from the police when he decided to dodge the cops in a body of water. He got away from one danger to head straight into the mouth of another danger: a huge alligator that ripped the guy’s forearm off! Ouch! The not-so-wise man was Jessie Kingsinger, who was 21 years old. Kingsinger had apparently gotten into an altercation with his mother, and police were called when things started getting nasty. Instead of sticking around, Kingsinger decided it would be far better to try and leave the house. Unfortunately, he seemed to miss all of the numerous caution signs warning people that the waters are infested with deadly alligators!
2 Lane Graves, 2 Years Old, Walt Disney World Resort
This is a more recent alligator attack and the catalyst for our countdown of shocking alligator attacks. An infant was vacationing in the Happiest Place on Earth: Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, when things took a disastrous turn for the worst. The poor toddler was crunched by a 6-foot-long alligator while splashing in a lagoon with his parents and sister. The boy was quickly dragged beneath the water and in just a blink of an eye, a father and mother watched their little son be pulled into the murky depths to his death. Walt Disney World employees were then under scrutiny, especially after it was discovered that the resort knew that there was an alligator problem in the area. Um, of course...it’s Florida for crying out loud! Do yourself a favor and never step near a body of water if you’re in the state of Florida.
1 Man In Mid-Twenties, River Mary, Australia
Near Darwin, Australia, a man was fatally attacked by an alligator lurking in the salty waters of the Mary River. The young man was only in his mid-twenties and was grabbed and dragged by the vicious beast for quite some time, before finally becoming a scrumptious feast for an alligator lurking along the riverbed. Apparently, the victim had blatantly ignored multiple warnings and obvious signs that there were alligators lurking in the waters (seem like a common theme to these deaths!). The man was adventuring with a buddy and decided he would go for a swim. It wasn’t too long before a humongous alligator clamped its jaws on the man’s body and proceeded to drag him under the waters to his death.
We can hope that all of these items are going to serve as a constant reminder that alligators are awesome, but also really deadly. And if there are signs and posts telling you that the waters are infested with deadly beasts, then just be okay with being a landlubber, or you may end up on a list just like this.