Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Alligator safety tips from the FWC

GRANT JEFFRIES/Bradenton Herald
In a Bradenton Herald story published today, I wrote about Lakewood Ranch officials' concerns that there is an increase in alligator trapping in Country Club West. Officials are thinking this uptick has to do with residents' misconceptions of how dangerous gators really are. Many residents are unaware that once a gator is trapped, it is almost always killed for its valuable meat and hide. CDD and HOA board members are encouraging residents to think twice before they make the call.

Here's a few gator safety tips from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:

• If you encounter an alligator that you believe poses a threat to people, pets or property, call the FWC’s Nuisance Alligator Hotline at (866) 392-4286.
• Be aware of the possibility of alligators when you are in or near fresh or brackish water.
• Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn. Therefore, avoid swimming at night.
• Dogs and cats are similar in size to the natural prey of alligators. Don’t allow pets to swim, exercise or drink in or near waters that may contain alligators.
• Leave alligators alone. State law prohibits killing, harassing, possessing or feeding alligators.• Dispose of fish scraps in garbage cans at boat ramps and fish camps. Do not throw them into the water.
• Seek immediate medical attention if you are bitten by an alligator. Alligator bites can result in serious infections.
• Observe and photograph alligators from a distance.

-- Sabrina Rocco,

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