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
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
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.