Wildlife encounters on the rise; how to stay safe

Warmer weather brings out more critters and creepy crawlers, and it’s the time of year where you’re more likely to cross paths with a snake or a gator.

WINK News got some tips on what you should do if you encounter wildlife.

There have been a lot of reports lately of people encountering gators, with some even showing up on porches and in swimming pools.

“Alligators are gonna be very active with this mating season coming up, and so you’re going to see them on the move from water body to water body, but we’re getting a lot more calls about them being found under vehicles or on someone’s doorstep,” said Senior Officer Adam Brown with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commissioner.

As for snakes, fortunately for us, only six out of the more than 40 native species in Florida are venomous. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look out for them. The same goes for invasive cane toads, also very common around here. They secrete toxins that can be deadly for pets.

To keep these unwanted guests away, FWC has some advice.

“You want to make sure you’re keeping your yard mowed and well-trimmed, keeping the bushes trimmed. When you have the higher grass and some of that coverage, that will invite rodents and snakes as well to your home,” Brown said.

Ultimately, experts say to use common sense. Never feed a gator and don’t approach one.

“Keep a good awareness of your surroundings at all times. Wear good footwear… you never know when one of these snakes or something else may be nearby.”

If you see a gator in your neighborhood that has you worried, FWC has a nuisance alligator hotline: 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286).

Generally, a gator is considered a nuisance if it’s at least 4-feet long and poses a threat to people, pets or property.

Reporter:Taylor Wirtz
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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