What Should You Do if You Find Yourself Staring Down an Alligator in Florida?

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July 16 2014 1:07 PM

What to Do if You’re Staring Down an Alligator

Hint: Don’t run in a zigzag motion.

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EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, FL - AUGUST 05: An alligator floats in a pond in the Florida Everglades after the South Florida Water Management District announced it may reduce the size of the deal it had announced earlier in the year with U.S. Sugar on August 5, 2010 in the Everglades National Park, Florida. The original proposal, announced in 2008, was to buy all of the U.S. Sugar Corporations assets and use the land to replenish the Everglades, letting water from Lake Okeechobee run its natural route. The plan now because of state budget cut backs is to buy 26,800 acres and retain a 10-year option to buy the rest of the land. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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.    

Paca Thomas is a regular video contributor to Slate.