Gator mating season enhances danger to humans

NAPLES, Fla. They’ll do a song and dance and bellow out a loud, guttural growl.

The call of the male alligator will be in the air around Southwest Florida from now until August, mating season for Florida’s official reptile.

And that doesn’t just mean it’s high time for gator rendezvous. They also pose a greater threat to humans this time of year.

“During mating season they tend to wander around a lot more, so you just need to be cautious,” nuisance gator trapper Beth Hamm said.

The danger is enhanced this year because of the severe drought affecting most of Southwest Florida. Gators are forced to look for new water supplies, according to Hamm, who contracts with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

That quest can lead them to unusual places. Hamm and her gator-trapping husband, Tony, recently snagged a 7-footer on someone’s front lawn. Another gator was spotted near the Collier County Courthouse.

And when it comes to water, nothing beats a swimming pool.

“The swimming pools are the most crazy — that happens quite often in mating season,” Tony Hamm said.

Those who find gators in their pools or other places they don’t belong are urged to keep a 30-foot distance and call the FWC Alligator Hotline at 866-392-4286, or 866-FWC-GATOR.

Reporter:Olivia Mancino
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