2018-05-01 / Features

Is there an alligator in your future?

That is a possibility, remote though the prospect may seem.

Here’s what you need to know, just in case.

The good news about alligators is that they represent a conservation success story in Florida.

The state has a healthy and stable alligator population, estimated at 1.3 million of the creatures in a variety of sizes.

While they are an important part of Florida’s wetlands, they are not “pet potential,” and they should be regarded with caution and respect, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

As temperatures start to go up in the spring each year, alligators’ metabolism increases and they become more active and visible to the public. There are rarely instances of serious injury related to alligators for residents and visitors to the Sunshine State, but the FWC recommends taking precautions any time you are around or in the water.

Every one of Florida’s 67 counties can count alligators among its residents.

They are most often found anywhere there is standing water.

So, you can reduce your chances of running into one of them by only swimming in designated swimming areas during daylight hours.

It’s also a good idea to keep pets on a leash and away from the water.

Alligators love basking in the sun. It helps control their body temperature. It also makes them easy creatures to observe, but anyone wishing to do so should exercise caution and do so from a safe distance.

A seemingly sleepy alligator can “come alive” and cause some painful problems with surprising speed.

Remember, too, that it is never a good idea to feed alligators. Not only is it unsafe; it is illegal.

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