News Releases

Call FWC for issues with alligators

News Release

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-758-0525

Alligators are active during the warm-weather months, and there’s a good chance that people who live around water will encounter these native creatures.

Alligators are deceptively quick, both in and out of the water. If someone is bitten by an alligator, he or she should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Alligator bites can result in serious infections requiring specific antibiotic treatment, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officials.

Avoid the risk of an alligator bite by not taking matters into your own hands or putting yourself in harm’s way. Call the FWC’s Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (392-4286) to report any alligator you believe poses a threat to people, pets or property.          

“If there’s an issue with an alligator, call the FWC and let the experts take care of it,” said FWC Lt. Scott Lee, Taylor County watch supervisor. “We certainly don’t want anyone getting hurt attempting to capture, kill or subdue an alligator.”

Taking an alligator without a permit is a violation of FWC rules, and anyone intentionally killing an alligator could be cited, Lee explained.

The Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP) uses contracted nuisance alligator trappers throughout the state to remove alligators that have become a problem. If an alligator is 4 feet or larger and the complaint meets other qualifying criteria, SNAP will issue a permit to a contracted nuisance alligator trapper authorizing the removal of the animal.

In 2010, SNAP received 13,047 nuisance alligator complaints, resulting in the removal of 5,856 nuisance alligators.

Here are some tips people can use to stay safer around alligators:

  • Be aware of the possibility of alligators when you are in or near fresh or brackish water. Bites may occur when people do not pay close enough attention to their surroundings when working or recreating near water.
  • Do not swim outside of posted swimming areas or in waters that might be inhabited by large alligators.
  • 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.
  • Never feed alligators – it’s dangerous and illegal.
  • Dispose of fish scraps in garbage cans at boat ramps and fish camps. Do not throw them into the water. Although you are not intentionally feeding alligators when you do this, the result can be the same.
  • Observe and photograph alligators only from a distance.
  • Leave alligators alone. Handling even small alligators can result in injury. State law prohibits killing, harassing or possessing alligators.

For more information on alligators, visit

FWC Facts:
After reaching sexual maturity at 4-7 years, female manatees give birth to an average of one calf every 2-3 years. The calf stays with its mother for up to 2 years.

Learn More at AskFWC