Objective: Encounters with alligators are increasing in the United States. Both severe injuries and fatalities can occur from an alligator attack. This study provides information on alligator attacks reported in the United States as well as infections that are commonly associated with alligator bites.
Methods: In order to collect information on the number of alligator bites, nuisance calls, and estimated alligator population of each state, calls were made to wildlife offices in all southern US states, and an online search for lay press articles was performed. Detailed information was available from Florida and is presented regarding the types of injuries and the activities of the victims at the time of the injuries.
Results: From 1948 to August 1, 2004, 376 injuries and 15 deaths have been reported in the United States as a result of encounters with alligators. The number of nuisance calls as well as the alligator population is increasing.
Conclusions: As the human population encroaches on the habitat of alligators, attacks and nuisance complaints increase. A uniform reporting system among states should be developed to obtain more complete information on alligator encounters.