What to do if you encounter an alligator in the wild

Check out these tips on how to stay safe if you encounter an alligator.

Spring has sprung, and all kinds of animals are becoming more active throughout Central Florida. Alligators are regularly seen in the area, and they will soon become more aggressive and territorial as their mating season begins.

GatorWorld Parks of Florida offers these tips should you encounter an alligator at your home or in Central Florida’s parks and lakes:

  • Stay back. Keep at least 30 feet between you and the alligator. If they start to hiss at you, you’re definitely too close.
  • Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn. Avoid swimming during this time of night.
  • Alligators are not slow. They can move very quickly, so it’s smart to keep a safe distance.
  • Understand their habitats. Alligators prefer to be in the sun along the banks of water. Keep an eye out for these types of areas while visiting Central Florida’s lakes and water systems.
  • Fishing near alligators is not recommended. If an alligator moves toward your fishing spot, relocate for your own safety, as well as the safety of the alligator. Don’t throw your fish scraps back in the water.
  • Keep your pets away from the water’s edge and don’t let your pet drink in the water. Pets are typically the size of an alligator’s prey.
  • Never feed an alligator.
  • Try to avoid piles of grasses, twigs and disturbed soil near the water’s edge. It could possibly be an alligator nest, and females will get aggressive to protect it.

“GatorWorld Parks of Florida works closely with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission as we serve as a rescue and relocation facility for some nuisance alligators,” said Don Buckner, GatorWork Parks of Florida developer. “We’ve specifically designed our park to showcase alligators safely.”

If you are concerned about an alligator at your home, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Alligator Nuisance Line at 888-FWC-GATOR. To have a close encounter with these creatures safely, visit GatorWorld Parks of Florida. For more information, visit GatorWorldParks.com.


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  1. I’ve been walking the trails at Al Lopez Park in Tampa for several years, and though there are signs all around the park warning of alligators, I”ve never encountered one until recently. I actually found it more fascinating that alarming (probably because of all the signage and my love for nature anyway). Today (about a week later) I encountered what I believe was the same one in exactly the same spot along the north end of the lake at the the north end of the park).

    When I reported the sighting last week to the park office, they seemed rather nonchalant, as if it were an everyday occurrence. I asked about attacks, and the the staff person’s knowledge (who said he’s been coming to the park since he was a kid) there had never been an alligator attack there at the park.

    Your thoughts? Advice (other than general caution and common sense of keeping the distance)?