News Releases

FWC cites Port St. Lucie man for feeding alligators

News Release

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Media contact: Gabriella B. Ferraro, 772-215-9459

After receiving complaints from residents about the illegal feeding of alligators, officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) responded to a Port St. Lucie neighborhood this week.

It didn't take long for officers to recognize a potentially dangerous situation. Officers observed a couple walking out to the canal behind their home, where two alligators were approaching their dock. The man propped open a back gate, allowing access to the backyard.

The man went into the house and emerged with a plastic bag. With a few shakes of the bag, an alligator - approximately 6 feet long - entered the backyard. When the man noticed the officer watching him, he chased the alligator out of the backyard and then closed the gate.

Officers entered the backyard and observed numerous hot dog pieces scattered on the ground. In addition, they found a plastic bag with a package of hot dogs inside.

Matthew P. Bucci (DOB 08/10/75) of Port St. Lucie was cited for feeding alligators, a misdemeanor. His wife was given a warning for the same offense.

The alligator was removed and euthanized, per the FWC's nuisance alligator program policy.

Feeding alligators not only is illegal, it can result in their becoming a nuisance, as happened in this case. In addition, when fed, alligators learn to associate humans with food. Consequently, the alligator can become a nuisance, and nuisance alligators greater than 4 feet long are destroyed.

To report a nuisance alligator, call 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286).

FWC Facts:
Armadillos are not native to Florida, but are now common over most of the state. They like forested or semi-open habitats with loose-textured soil that allows them to dig easily.

Learn More at AskFWC