Alligators have inhabited Florida's marshes, swamps, rivers and lakes for many centuries, and are found in all 67 counties. In recent years, Florida has experienced tremendous human population growth.
Alligators are ectothermic (cold blooded). They regulate their body temperature by basking in the sun or moving to areas with warmer or cooler air or water temperatures. They are most active when temperatures are between 82° to 92° F, i.e. Spring and Summer.
They stop feeding when the ambient temperature drops below approximately 70° F, and they become dormant below 55° F. Alligators are dormant throughout much of the winter. During this time, they can be found in burrows that they construct adjacent to an alligator hole or open water, but they occasionally emerge to bask in the sun during periods of warm weather.
Although many Floridians have learned to coexist with alligators, the potential for conflict always exists. Serious injuries caused by alligators are rare in Florida, but if you are concerned about an alligator, call FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-392-4286. The FWC will dispatch one of its contracted nuisance alligator trappers to resolve the situation.
The American alligator is Federally protected by the Endangered Species Act as a Threatened species, due to their similarity of appearance to the American crocodile, and as a Federally-designated Threatened species by Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Rule.
Remember, never feed an alligator and keep your distance if you see one. And keep pets on a leash and away from the water.
Please be careful near and around the lakes.