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Tips for Staying Safe During Florida’s Alligator Mating Season and Debunking Gator Myths

Alligators: Love ’em or hate ’em, they’re an element of life when living in Florida. They might be present in all 67 counties in Florida. The safest practice to follow when encountering alligators is to offer them loads of space. Nonetheless, it becomes a bit tougher once they resolve to make themselves at home, quite literally, in our homes and yards. There have been quite a few stories of alligators taking leisurely strolls through neighborhoods, having fun with a while on golf courses, relaxing on porches, taking a refreshing dip in pools, and even popping in to peek at what’s happening in someone’s kitchen.

Currently, it’s alligator mating season, so that they could also be much more visible than usual. Here’s what you could know, together with safety suggestions for you and your pets. One crucial point to recollect about alligators is to never feed them.

Map: Where are alligators in Florida?
There are roughly 1.3 million alligators in Florida. They might be present in all 67 counties and are most energetic when temperatures range between 82 and 92 degrees. Alligators might be present in various bodies of water reminiscent of lakes, ponds, rivers, marshes, swamps, and man-made canals.

Alligator mating season typically starts in April. Courtship begins, and love is within the air as alligators seek for mates. This will result in increased visibility of alligators. Mating often occurs in May or June, with females laying around 32 to 46 eggs in late June or early July. The eggs typically hatch in late August or early September.

Over the past decade, Florida has averaged about eight unprovoked bites per yr that require medical treatment. The likelihood of a Florida resident being seriously injured in an unprovoked alligator incident is roughly one in 3.1 million. From 1948 to 2022, there have been 453 unprovoked bite incidents in Florida, leading to 26 fatalities.

Alligators primarily hunt at dusk or at night, waiting patiently for prey to approach. Their eating regimen includes fish, frogs, birds, turtles, insects, snakes, small mammals, other alligators, white-tailed deer, wild hogs, and sometimes pets. Once caught, prey is usually swallowed whole.

With regards to differentiating between alligators and crocodiles, alligators have a broad, rounded snout with no lower teeth visible when their jaw is closed. American crocodiles, alternatively, have a narrow snout, with the fourth tooth of the lower jaw protruding when closed.

For safety around alligators, closely supervise children around water, swim only in designated areas, avoid waters where large alligators are known to frequent, and never feed or entice alligators. If an alligator bites you, fight back and make as much noise as possible.

To report a priority about an alligator, call the Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR. Small alligators might be deemed a nuisance in the event that they are seen in unexpected areas. Remember, alligators must be respected and left alone to inhabit their natural habitats. Take precautions to make sure your safety and that of your pets when near any body of water in Florida.

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