Now that our weather is heating up, alligators are becoming more active, increasing the chance of alligator sightings. Just last weekend, a Temple Terrace driver encountered a 12-foot long alligator wandering onto I-275 in St. Petersburg.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) wants to remind Floridians and visitors to be cautious when in and around water because of increased alligator activity.
FWC Alligator Safety Tips
- Generally, alligators are less than four feet in length are not large enough to be dangerous unless handled. However, if you encounter any alligator that you believe poses a threat to people, pets or property call the Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWCGATOR (866-392-4286).
- Be aware of the possibility of alligators when you are in or near fresh or brackish water. Bites may occur when people do not pay close enough attention to their surroundings when working or recreating near water.
- Do not swim outside of posted swimming areas or in waters that might be inhabited by large alligators.
- Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn. Therefore, avoid swimming at night.
- Dogs and cats are similar in size to the natural prey of alligators. Don’t allow pets to swim, exercise or drink in or near waters that may contain alligators. Dogs often attract an alligator’s interest, so do not swim with your dog.
- Leave alligators alone. State law prohibits killing, harassing or possessing alligators. Handling even small alligators can result in injury.
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