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canoeing & alligators - any real danger?

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Perth, Australia
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244 posts
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canoeing & alligators - any real danger?

I hate asking 'silly' foreigner questions but after doing research I just can't decide whether I should be concerned or not.

I like the idea of canoeing when we are in New Orleans - the scenery seems fascinating and we'll be there in the middle of summer so it'll be a cooler option BUT I'm very worried about alligators. I contacted a canoeing/tour company who confirmed there are alligators in the water 'but they don't come near us as we don't feed them'. I asked some friends on fb who said that they've been on boats where the alligators have been fed.

I'm worried that I'm going to freak out if I see an alligator whilst canoeing - I'm from Australia and you wouldn't canoe in crocodile infested waters.

I suppose I'm asking - is it right to be scared or am I over-reacting - has anyone got a canoeing experience in New Orleans to share?

Southern, Louisiana
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262 posts
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1. Re: canoeing & alligators - any real danger?

Be sure to eat alligator before you go in the water. The legend is gators don't eat what eats them first.

Duncan, Oklahoma
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3 reviews
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2. Re: canoeing & alligators - any real danger?

I took a kayak tour last fall with Lost Lands Tours and we saw alligators, egrets, other birds and wildlife, interesting plants, and the swamp lands and bayou in general. I recommend the tour highly. They are here on TripAdvisor. I would NOT recommend "freaking out" while you glide by an alligator in a kayak, but all six of us made it back to dry land. :-) Shoot them an email. They can give you more info.

Toronto, Ontario...
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3. Re: canoeing & alligators - any real danger?

keep in mind alligators are NOT like crocs...crocs are FAR more aggressive....

Destination Expert
for New Orleans
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7,504 posts
115 reviews
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4. Re: canoeing & alligators - any real danger?

About 15 years ago, my husband and I and our son and his fiance rented canoes from a place called Bayou Barn - I'm not sure if they are even still around. This was not a guided tour, we went out on our own. We didn't see any alligators, but I'm sure they were around as when we asked about them before getting into the canoe, the guy we rented from said 'ah, they won't bother you'. After an hour or so, my son and his fiance felt a thump against the side of their canoe. He was sure it was an alligator (probably a log in the water!) and then wanted to return and get out of the canoes, so we did. It was OK, but once was enough.

College Station...
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for New Orleans
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10,884 posts
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5. Re: canoeing & alligators - any real danger?

As they say on Swamp People, "choot 'em!'

Gretna, Louisiana
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96 posts
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6. Re: canoeing & alligators - any real danger?

It is perfectly safe to canoe with alligators. I have done it many times with my wife and children when they were little. It can be a little disconcerting to see an alligator larger than the canoe slip into the water when it sees you coming. The gators feel safer in the water and are not looking at you as prey. Whatever you do do not swim with the gators. Devin Funck a twelve year old from Sidell had his arm eaten by Big Joe. He knew Joe was there but went swimming anyway. Big Joe was killed to retrieve the arm. It could not be reattached.

Happy canoeing.

Gretna, Louisiana
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96 posts
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7. Re: canoeing & alligators - any real danger?

By the way canoeing in the swamp is not a cooler option. You will be exerting yourself in a hot wet humid enviroment. Bring plenty of water and a dry shirt to change into before you get back into the airconditioned car. Again no swimming to cool off.

Perth, Australia
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244 posts
73 reviews
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8. Re: canoeing & alligators - any real danger?

Thanks everyone!! You've given me plenty to think about :)

Allentown...
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1,439 posts
31 reviews
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9. Re: canoeing & alligators - any real danger?

I'll be doing a solo kayak trip in the swamps near Breaux Bridge this November with BayouTecheEncounters; they have assured me it is safe.

Chicago, Illinois
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437 posts
17 reviews
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10. Re: canoeing & alligators - any real danger?

Well, this is from probably 30 years ago, for whatever it's worth. Some of my local family took my sister and me (we were/are Yankees) canoeing in La. towards the Miss. border in the beautiful swamps and streams close to their home. And as a big brother I felt it my duty to point out every floating log and yell "gator" to my sister. Not being much of a paddler I even bumped a few gator logs. After a while my sister stopped freaking out at each log, so I stopped bugging her. But I didn't stop hitting logs. Imagine my surprise when one of the logs that I bumped turned out to BE A GATOR! It just swam off. None of my family was very excited about it, they said it happened all of the time. Never did stop me from going back.

Cheers!