As spring approaches, The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recommends safety precautions as the warmer temperatures cause alligators to be more active and visible.
The American alligator, Florida’s state reptile, is a conservation success story. Florida has an estimated amount of 1.3 million alligators. They are found in freshwater lakes, ponds, swamps, and slow-moving rivers. While serious injuries caused by alligators are rare in Florida, the FWC offers the following tips about how to safely co-exist with them:
- Keep a safe distance if you see an alligator and never feed one. When fed, alligators can lose their natural wariness and instead learn to associate people with the availability of food.
- Swim only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours. Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn.
- Keep pets on a leash and away from the water’s edge and never let them swim in fresh or brackish water. Pets often resemble alligators’ natural prey.
- Call the FWC’s Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286) if you believe an alligator poses a threat to people, pets, or property and the FWC will dispatch a contracted nuisance alligator trapper to resolve the situation.
Find more resources about living with alligators at MyFWC.com/Alligator.
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