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Alligator Mating Season

Advanced pet care in South Tampa FLHere in Florida, it seems we have a season for just about everything. Snowbird season. Hurricane season. You name it, we’ve got it.  Early April usually marks alligator mating season. Although alligators can’t check their calendars, the warming spring temperatures increase their metabolism, which means they become more active- and looking for food, and a mate. Depending on the weather patterns, the season can start in March, if we have a run of above average temperatures. Season usually runs through early June.

Florida is home to an estimated 1.3 million alligators, and they can be found in all of Florida’s 67 counties. Alligators become mature when they reach a length of 6 to 7 feet. This can take 6-8 years for males and more than 8 years for females. When the weather warms up, larger alligators may start forcing smaller gators out of their home territories, meaning more gators will be seen out and about looking for new territory.

Although unprovoked attacks on humans are rare, they can and do happen. Between 1948 and 2021, there were 442 reported unprovoked attacks on humans, with 26 of those encounters being fatal. There are fewer statistics available on alligators attacking our pets, but it seems that we don’t go a single season without hearing about at least one on the news.

The best way to keep you and your pets safe is to keep clear of alligator habitat altogether when walking or exercising your pet. If you must walk your pet near ponds, lakes or marshy areas, keep your pet on a leash and be vigilant about what you see and hear. Use extreme caution when walking in these areas, and never let your pet freely play or swim in any open body of water. Alligators may mistake you or your pet for their natural prey. It’s almost always a good idea to assume that any body of fresh water in Florida can contain alligators. If you live on or near a pond, lake or marshy area, avoid letting your pet roam off leash or out of your control.

Remember, it’s not just a bad idea to feed alligators- it is also illegal. Feeding alligators can cause them to begin to associate humans with food. If you encounter what you feel is a ‘nuisance’ alligator greater than 4 feet in length, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission at 1-866-392-4286 to report it.