Tips to safely co-exist with alligators

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

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March 20, 2024

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Tips to safely co-exist with alligators

As the weather gets warmer across the Sunshine State, alligators are becoming more active and visible.

The American alligator is a conservation success story in Florida. Florida has a healthy and stable alligator population, which is estimated at 1.3 million alligators of every size. Alligators are found in all 67 counties, inhabiting all wetlands where there’s adequate food and shelter.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) works to keep Floridians and visitors informed and recommends the following precautionary measures near alligators, including in or near the water, to reduce the chances of conflict:

  • Keep a safe distance if you see an alligator. If someone is concerned about an alligator, they should call FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286), and we will dispatch a contracted nuisance alligator trapper to resolve the situation.
  • Keep pets on a leash and away from the water’s edge. Pets often resemble alligators’ natural prey.
  • Swim only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours and without your pet. Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn.
  • Never feed an alligator. It’s illegal and dangerous. When fed, alligators can lose their natural wariness and instead learn to associate people with the availability of food. This can lead to dangerous circumstances for yourself and other people who could encounter the alligator in the future.

Access safety information resources in both English and Spanish by visiting and clicking on “Living with Alligators.” 

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