What to Know
- Alligator mating season begins in early April, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
- The FWC issues a guide explaining how to coexist with the creatures, which details safety tips & numbers to call when encounters take place.
It may be April Fool’s Day, but the possibility of alligator sightings in South Florida are no joke.
Alligator mating season begins in early April, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The gators courtship phase starts this month, while mating takes place in May or June. So don’t be too surprised if you see more of the scaly green creatures lounging around canals, swamps and marshy areas.
Alligators have been known to frequent some pretty odd places in the Sunshine State, including backyard swimming pools, golf courses, garages, and even Publix parking lots. The FWC attributes increased sightings and encounters to the rise of people settling in waterfront areas, as well as population growth in the state. That, combined with more and more people engaging in recreational water sports, results in “increased interactions between people and alligators.”
But while alligators are a “fundamental part of Florida’s wetlands,” the FWC cautions that attacks on humans, pets and livestock can and have occurred. From 1948 to the present, there have been five unprovoked bites per year, the organization said, with 22 bites resulting in deaths.
With attacks being a real possibility for Floridians, the FWC issues a guide explaining how to coexist with the creatures. It details everything from when alligators are most active, to what to do if you’re bitten.
Alligators, the FWC says, are most active from dusk to dawn, so swimming at night (particularly in areas near fresh or brackish water) is not a good idea. The informative brochure also includes general tips, like keeping your pets away from gators and not feeding the animals.
If you are bitten, the FWC says to seek medical attention right away.
According to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute,the average size of a male alligator is 11.2 feet. The reptiles can weigh nearly have a ton, or 1,000 pounds.
According to the FWC, female gators lay 32 to 46 eggs in late June or early July. Hatching typically takes place from mid-August through early September.