Florida is the ultimate tropical paradise and alligators seem to agree. With warm weather all year round and many swamps with plenty of food, it is no surprise that in your boating and other water adventures, you will most likely come across a gator or two. Learning how to stay safe around alligators can prevent unpleasant encounters with these fascinating creatures. Here are some alligator safety tips to remember if you come across one:
1. Never Feed Alligators
According to FWC, not only is feeding an alligator in Florida illegal but also extremely dangerous. Alligators are naturally afraid of humans but if they start associating them with food, they might start losing their natural wariness.
Instead of generally leaving people alone, they might start charging at them expecting to be fed. To ensure your safety when out boating with alligators, never try feeding turtles and other water animals as the food source will likely attract alligators as well.
2. Maintain A Safe Distance
Alligators are wild animals and can be quite dangerous if provoked. Stay away from them and if you do come across one, move away and maintain at least 60 feet between you and the animal.
If you are in the water, do not try to provoke it with your paddle. Gators are good jumpers and if you disturb it or try to get too close, the animal might actually try to defend itself. Avoid paddling in areas that are likely to have alligator nests as the mother is always nearby ready to protect it. The same goes for baby alligators and if you see one, simply paddle away.
3. Keep Your Pets On A Leash
Pets and other small animals resemble alligators' natural prey. If you are heading into the water with your dog, keep it on a leash to ensure its safety. Alligators are efficient predators that will hide under the water waiting for the perfect moment when your pet walks by or jumps into the water. They are also quite fast both on land and in the water and if your dog is running around, an alligator might mistake it for food.
4. Pay Attention To Your Surroundings
When boating in areas with alligators, it's important to remember that you are in their habitat. To avoid direct encounters, pay close attention to your surroundings when getting in or out of the water. Alligators are more active at night, dawn, and dusk, so it's best to be extra cautious during these times.
If you are planning a boating outing, taking note of these safety tips for alligators will ensure your safety and that of the animal.
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