George Stimpson

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Do alligators often kill people?

Only a few species of crocodilians are dangerous to man. American alligators seldom attack man either in or out of the water except in self-defense. The late Dr. William I. Hornaday, American naturalist, declared that he had been unable to find a single authentic record of the loss of a human life by the American alligator. Young alligators are often kept as pets. At least three species of crocodiles are believed to be dangerous to man. The most dangerous is the Nile crocodile. It is said that "the man-eater of the Nile" kills more human beings on the average than any other wild creature in Africa. But even in this species the man-killing habit. is generally confined to certain individuals. The ordinary crocodile is wary and suspicious of human beings and will usually retreat rather than attack persons who invade its waters. They do, however, lie in wait at the water's edge and seize, overpower and eat animals of considerable size that come to drink. There is one record of an African crocodile that killed and ate be­tween[page 15] forty and fifty persons before it was shot. Deaths from crocodiles are occasionally reported from the Philippines, Borneo, India. and other parts of southwestern Asia and the neighboring islands. It is said that some natives of Borneo and Madagascar will not kill a crocodile unless it has killed a human being.