Although serious injuries caused by alligators are rare in Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) issued their annual spring season precautions for people on Monday, March 26 especially when having fun in and around the water.
With an estimated population of 1.3 million American alligators in the state, FWC officials caution that the animals “should be regarded with caution and respect.”
Alligators become more active and visible during spring when temperatures rise. They control their body temperature by basking in the sun and the FWC urges people to keep their distance if they see one.
According to the FWC, “never feed alligators because it is dangerous and illegal.”
Alligators inhabit all 67 counties in Florida and can be found anywhere there is standing water, said FWC officials.
“Reduce the chances of conflicts with alligators by swimming only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours. Also keep pets on a leash and away from the water,” said FWC Public Information Officer Tammy Sapp.
People concerned about an alligator should call the FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (392-4286). FWC partners with contracted nuisance alligator trappers throughout the state to remove animals four feet in length or greater that are believed to pose a threat to people, pets or property, said Sapp.
Learn more about alligators at myfwc.com/alligator.