With the welcome return of spring comes the perhaps unwelcome reappearance of alligators near standing water (ponds, lakes, marshes, swamps, etc.).
Florida's state reptile has a metabolism that rises in warmer temperatures and prompts them to hunt for prey (they're hungry!).
Although the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) says alligator bites causing serious injuries are rare, here are some reminders for Florida residents and visitors about how to peacefully co-exist with these large creatures.
*Don't feed the alligators! In addition to being dangerous, it's illegal. And you don't want them to start associating food with people, do you?
*Whenever you're near water, be on alligator alert and pay attention to your surroundings.
*Don't venture beyond posted safe swimming areas, and avoid swimming at night.
*Alligators will eat cats and dogs, so keep them safe and away from waters where alligators may be. Keep your dogs on leashes and never swim with them!
*Keep your distance and only photograph alligators from afar.
*If you are bitten, seek medical attention immediately.
*If you are concerned about an alligator, call FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-392-4286.
Learn more about alligators here, and check out this story on Ocala.com for more information on living with them.