Watch: Black Bear Fights Off Two Gators While Swimming Across a Florida River

A Florida kayaker had a front-row seat to a clash between two top predators on Tuesday. While paddling down the St. Johns River near Orlando, Tyler Futrell saw a black bear fighting off a pair of alligators in the middle of the river. Futrell was able to capture it all in a video that has since gone viral on social media.

WHAT THE F*CKKKK!!! I’ve never ever seen that before! Black bear vs gators

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Posted by Tyler Futrell on Tuesday, June 4, 2024

A resident of DeBary, Futrell told News-6 in Orlando that he was paddling by himself that morning on a stretch of the St. Johns near the mouth of the Wekiva River. He said he thought the black bear was a wild hog when he first pulled out his cell phone to record a video.

“Not really sure what this is,” Futrell says at the start of the video, which shows the black bear mid-crossing. “I think it’s a pig?”

The bear audibly huffs and pants as it swims across the wide river, and you can hear the excitement building in Futrell’s voice as he pans to the right, where an alligator is swimming right at the bruin.

“Oh man, alligator comin’ to say hi,” Futrell says. But instead of saying “hi” back, the black bear swats the alligator across the head a couple times. A big splash erupts on the water’s surface as the bear keeps swimming over it without missing a beat.

The one-two punch prompts an “Oh shit!” from Futrell, who stays roughly 100 yards away from the scene in his kayak. “Go for round two! Go for round two!” he jokes as the bear keeps chugging along.

A close-up of the black bear punching the second alligator.

Photo by Tyler Futrell / via Facebook

Surprisingly, Futrell gets his wish. As the black bear nears the lily pads lining the far bank of the river, it runs into another alligator. The bear, which is now growling loudly, swats it repeatedly, wheeling on the reptile with its two front paws as it swims right over the alligator’s back.

At this point, roughly midway through the video, Futrell finally realizes it’s a black bear he’s filming and not a pig. He pans away from the bear for a second as it growls yet again, and then picks it up in the frame as another big splash breaks the surface. Although it’s hard to make out in the video, the bear then climbs up the far bank and exits the river through a dense jungle of palm trees and cypresses. The gator then smacks its tail on the water, seemingly out of frustration.

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“Mr. Alligator’s pissed,” Futrell says. “I’ve never seen that before in my life.”  

Although it’s rare to see the two critters duke it out, Florida is home to at least 4,000 black bears and more than 1.3 million alligators, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. And while gators are obviously more at home in the water, bears are surprisingly good doggy paddlers in their own right. They can easily cross a river, and they’re occasionally spotted on Florida beaches or even swimming out in the Gulf of Mexico.

The post Watch: Black Bear Fights Off Two Gators While Swimming Across a Florida River appeared first on Outdoor Life.

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