Bear vs Alligator—Caught on Video in Florida

Seeing a bear in central Florida is a fairly rare occurrence. Seeing a bear fight off two alligators while crossing a river—and capturing the entire tussle on video—is, well, crazy really. And yet it happened, just this week.

While paddling the St. Johns River between the High Banks marina and the Wekiva River on June 4, Kayaker Tyler Futrell of DeBary, Florida, spotted something swimming across the river and started recording it with his cell phone from about 100 feet away.

Early in the nearly 2-minute video, Futrell says uncertainly, “Not really sure what this is. I think it’s a pig?”

He later told Orlando’s News 6, “I grew up around here, so I’m pretty used to seeing hogs and whatever, but a bear is a pretty rare sight, so it didn’t even cross my mind.”

As Futrell continues to record the animal’s progress, a large gator swims into the frame aiming straight for the bear. “Oh, man, alligator coming to say hi,” Futrell says. As the two predators collide head on, the bear rises out of the water briefly, appearing to swat at the lunging gator, before swimming on. The gator appears to give chase for a few seconds before disappearing, prompting Futrell to comment, “Man, that’s a big gator.”

A half-minute later, as the bear swims parallel to the river bank to skirt a large mat of vegetation, a second gator lunges out from under the green cover, churning up a big splash of water. The bear again ploughs through the attack and hauls itself out on the bank. “It’s a frickin’ bear!” exclaims Futrell. “I’ve never seen that before in my life!”

Futrell couldn’t say if the bear or gators were injured, but the bear appears unharmed while climbing out of the river and can be heard moving away through the woods. Futrell told News 6 the bruin “was just kind of annoyed and ready to get out of the water.”

Florida has an estimated 4,000 black bears (the only bear species in the state) according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. June marks the beginning of their breeding season, which extends to August. Cubs are born in late January and early February. Although their numbers have been rising since the 1980s, FWC estimates that bears today occupy only about 49 percent of their historic range in the state.

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