During spring, alligators become more active and visible which most residents in Florida are aware of. When temperatures rise, their metabolism increases and causing them to become hungry, leading them to begin seeking prey. Although alligator bite incidents resulting in serious injury are rare in Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recommends taking precautions when having fun in and around the water.

Florida’s state reptile is the American alligator and is an important part of Florida’s wetland habitats. You can find this large reptile throughout the state in freshwater lakes, ponds, swamps, and slow-moving rivers.

Alligators control their body temperature by basking in the sun, where they can be easily observed. If you see an alligator, keep your distance and never feed alligators because it is dangerous and illegal. Alligators that are fed can overcome their natural wariness and will learn to associate people with food.

According to the FWC, the most active time for Alligators happens between dusk and dawn. In order to reduce the chances of conflicts with alligators, only swim during daylight hours and in designated swimming areas.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission also recommends pet owners to keep their animals on a leash and away from the water because pets can resemble an alligator’s natural prey.

The FWC places the highest priority on public safety and urges people who believe an alligator poses a threat to people, pets or property to call FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286). When someone concerned about an alligator calls the Nuisance Alligator Hotline, the FWC will dispatch one of our contracted nuisance alligator trappers to resolve the situation. The FWC also works diligently to keep Floridians and visitors informed, including providing advice about living with alligators.

Florida has a healthy and stable alligator population, which is estimated at 1.3 million alligators of every size. Learn more about alligators at MyFWC.com/Alligator.