Alligators – What should I do?

Alligators and humans have shared the marshes, swamps, rivers and lakes of the southeastern United States for many centuries, and Villagewalk shares it’s lakes with many of these creatures. Alligators are an important part of Florida’s heritage and play an important role in the ecology of Florida’s wetlands. An understanding of these facts and broader knowledge of alligator behavior helps ensure that humans and alligators continue their long-term coexistence.

Some “gator” facts:

• The average size of an alligator is 6.5 feet to 13 feet. Some males can grow up to 18 feet, while females rarely grow past 9 feet.

• Their diet mainly consists of easily attainable prey such as fish, snakes, turtles, small mammals, birds, frogs, and even snails.

• People should report only those alligators that are actively causing problems or posing a threat to public safety. They should not report an alligator that is simply sunning itself on a bank or swimming in a lake, just doing what alligators do.

• If an alligator is longer than six feet and exhibits aggressive behavior, it is classified as a nuisance and is harvested for its meat and hide by permitted nuisance trappers. Homeowners can call the Wildlife Conservancy at 866-392-4286: if warranted they will remove the alligator.

• Smaller gators, four feet or less in length, pose little threat to people; they can deliver a nasty bite that should immediately be seen by a physician should a bite occur. The bacteria in an alligator’s mouth causes bite wounds to become easily infected.

Some Gator DON’Ts

• Never feed the alligators: 1st, it is against the law and carries a hefty fine and possible jail time. 2nd, gators will associate food with humans thereafter which is not a good thing for either the gator or the humans.

• Lakes are not for recreational use. No swimming is permitted in the lakes. Do not allow children to play or walk your pets at the edge of the lake. This is a gators natural hunting ground.

• If a resident sees an aggressive alligator, or believes a particular gator poses a threat to the community, please contact the Wildlife Conservancy at 866-392-4286. The Conservancy will give the resident a confirmation number which is to be called in to the HOA office. The HOA will confirm with the Conservancy and allow their investigators to enter and assess the alligator. If the gator is found to be a nuisance, it will be removed and destroyed.