Wild horse battles alligator as tourists gasp in awe; video

Wild horse perceives alligator as a threat and stomps the reptile.

A group of women visiting a Florida nature preserve this week witnessed a spectacular clash between unlikely foes: a wild horse and large alligator. (Warning: The footage is somewhat graphic.)

“I’m still shaking,” Krystal M. Berry wrote in the Facebook description of her video, which she posted Wednesday.

Berry was hiking with three other nurses, who call themselves the “A Team,” at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, south of Gainesville.

Berry’s footage shows a black horse stray from its herd and pick a fight with the alligator, by stomping the reptile, which apparently was deemed to be too close for comfort. The gator fights back, though, as tourists react in awe and disbelief.

“Did he bite him?” a tourist asks, in reference to the gator’s counterattack.

“Just leave him alone,” another implores, seemingly referring to the horse.

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The battle was dramatic but brief, and neither critter appeared to have been badly hurt.

According to the Gainesville Sun, the skirmish occurred just off the La Chua Trail, near a canal teeming with alligators. Wild horses and bison sometimes graze along this trail, but a park biologist told the Sun that she had not heard of a prior incident like this.

“The horses recognize that the alligators are predators,” biologist Andi Christman said. “We like to speculate about what’s going on in the minds of different animals so I would assume that, for whatever reason, the horse probably felt that the alligator was in a threatening position.”

As of Thursday morning, Berry’s video had been viewed and shared thousands of times. Many of the 600-plus comments touched on the likelihood that the stallion was merely protecting the herd.