Environment

Florida issues tips to residents for ‘living with alligators’

As humans expand their living and play areas to places where alligators typically frolic, there’s bound to be occasional conflict.
As humans expand their living and play areas to places where alligators typically frolic, there’s bound to be occasional conflict. Miami Herald File

The state of Florida on Wednesday issued a list of helpful “tips for living with alligators.”

Spring increases their activity, especially because they like to bask in the sun to control their body temperature. According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the state has 1.3 million alligators and each county has some.

A Springfield, Missouri couple vacationing in Florida got an up-close-and-personal interaction with the state’s most famous reptilian residents when an alligator leapt off the bank it was sunning on and into their airboat, briefly wedging itself i

As humans expand their living and play areas to places where alligators typically frolic, there’s bound to be occasional conflict.

“[Alligators] are an important part of Florida’s ecosystem, but should be regarded with caution and respect,” FWC reminds.

Though gators are very visible and “alligator incidents are rare,” the agency offered Floridians these tips:

▪  Swim only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours.

▪  “Keep pets on a leash and away from the water.”

▪  “Never feed alligators, as it is dangerous and illegal.” (Remember, lots of teeth, strong bite.)

▪  If you see one, stay back. If you’re worried about it, call FWC’s Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286).

For nuisance humans, call local law enforcement.

Gwendolyn, a large alligator that has been been both pet and pal to retired firefighter David Van Buren for 47 years, is under investigation.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal

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