Spring is here and this month is gator mating season. This annual rite coincides with the dry season that causes a lot of water holes to dry up and for gators to travel further than normal looking for love.
"Since the inception of the Everglades, which was 10,000 or 20,000 years ago, the mating season and the breeding season has remained the same every year," according to gator expert and biologist, Joe Wasilewski. But what hasn't remained the same is habitat."
While rare, state Wildlife officers warn that alligator attacks can happen: in 2015, two swimmers — one in Blue Springs State Park south of Orlando and another in Texas— were killed. Another Florida man who fled police was attacked and killed in Brevard County. They were the first such deaths in seven years, and we all know the sad story of the toddler killed on Disney property.
During warm weather and mating season, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Tammy Sapp said people need to keep in mind a few simple rules. Swim only during daylight hours in designated areas. Keep pets on a leash — in November a dog off its leash on a Key Biscayne golf course was attacked and killed. And never, ever feed gators, not even marshmallows.
Gators that overcome their natural fear of humans nearly always have to be trapped and killed. The state also hosts an annual hunt from August through November. Applications for permits and information on gator hunting can found by visiting Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission's website.
And if you have a pool and live in gator habitat, look before leaping!
Read more about alligator mating season.