Alligators, Sharing the Water

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Sharing the waterways with Florida’s iconic predator, the Alligator

 

The warmer months are upon us and with the influx of anglers into the

waterways, the increasing numbers of alligators and the diminishing of

natural habitat, the odds of encountering Florida’s iconic predator

increases. Observing one of natures apex predators in the wild can be an

awesome experience and an ounce of caution can keep the experience safe and

positive for you and the reptile.

According to FWC and the UF IFAC, Alligator mating season is from about May

to June. This is when alligators are most active, mobile and aggressive.

These predators can grow up to 14 feet long and weigh in excess of 1000

pounds. Alligators have excellent eyesight, hearing and are good climbers.

Their powerful bodies allow them to make tremendous leaps of up to 5′ from

the waters edge!

The FWC and UF IFAS offer up some advice on living in Florida with

alligators.

1 Leave alligators alone * Don’t feed * Don’t molest * Don’t approach-keep

away! * If approached by an alligator, leave the area immediately!

2 Never feed an alligator * Don’t feed or they can loose their fear of

humans * Dispose of fish scrap in garbage cans at boat ramps. Disposing of

scraps in the water is ringing the dinner bell and potentially placing

people and alligators in a position for conflict. * Inform others of this

simple rule

3 Swimming * Swim during the day. Alligators are more active at night *

Don’t swim or wade in areas know to have large gators

4 Children and pets * Don’t let children or pets play near the waters edge.

Keep children with you at all times when on or near the water.

5 Help * FWC gator line 1.866.fwc.gator or 1.866.392.4286 Or dial 911 in an

emergency * If you are bitten by an alligator, see a doctor right away.

Serious complications can arise from infections from these predators. * In

over 50 years of records, only 242 unprovoked attacks have occurred with 15

of them fatal.

Remember, when were on the water we are sharing resources with wildlife and

often these areas are the last available for these indigenous species to

call home. As guests in their home, a little respect can go a long way to

keeping our adventures safe and enjoyable.

For more information on the importance of alligator species to the economy

or ecosystem of Florida, please see the FWC and UF IFAS.