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Best Alligator Safety Tips For Florida

alligator swimming in the water

Florida has approximately 1.25 million alligators.  Our guide to the best alligator safety tips helps you and your loved ones to increase safety while living or vacationing in “alligator state.” 


  • Closely supervise children when they are playing in or around water. Never allow small children to play by themselves near water.
  • Check your pool before letting kids go for a swim. Alligators in your pool are not uncommon in Florida.

Best Alligator Safety Tips For Dogs in Florida

  • Never allow pets to swim, exercise, or drink in waters that may contain alligators or in designated swimming areas with humans. 
  • This means: do not take your dogs kayaking for example.
  • Dogs are more susceptible to being attacked than humans because dogs resemble the natural prey of alligators.
  • Always keep your dogs on the leash. 
  • Dogs are in more danger from alligators than humans, because they resemble the reptiles’ natural prey. Do not let your dog swim in waters where you know alligators live.
  • Keep dogs away from natural vegetation. An alligator could be hiding there.
  • Warn your visiting guests. Other dog owners are often not aware of alligator risks.
  • Alligators love doggie treats. Being aware of feeding them outside.

Best Alligator Safety Tips For Fishing in Florida 

  • If fishing from a canoe or kayak, be careful when pulling fish from the water. Don’t keep fish on a stringer in the water. Make sure to not throw fish scraps in the water while cleaning fish, no matter on or off shore. They belong in the trash can for your own safety.

Feeding Alligators

  • State law prohibits killing, feeding, harassing or possession of alligators.
  • Feeding is illegal and dangerous. The reason is that when we feed alligators they lose their natural fear and learn to associate people with food.
  • Feeding alligators is a criminal act, punishable with up to a $500 fine and 60 days in jail.

Best Alligator Safety Tips For Taking Pictures in Florida 

  • Observe and photograph alligators only from a distance.
  • Leave alligators alone
  • Don’t risk your life for a social media picture

Activities in or on Water

  • Do not swim outside of posted swimming areas or in waters that might be inhabited by large alligators.
  • Always pay attention to signs
  • Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn. Therefore, swim only during daylight hours.
  • When paddling, keep hands and feet inside the boat. Be cautious and aware when entering or leaving the water.
  • Be aware. Inflatable kayaks or standup Paddle boards are also deflatable.
  • Always check the pool before entering. Especially during rainy summer months alligators in pools are common.
  • It is difficult to spot an alligator in the water or on land if it’s in a secluded area.

Best Alligator Safety Tips For Activities Close to Water

  • Do not work with your back to the water.
  • Golfing: Never play a ball if an alligator is close. There is usually a local rule that allows you to drop your ball at a safe distance.
  • Do not put your hand in the water to get a ball.
  • Bring a ball retriever for safety reasons
  • Be mindful while looking for balls. Gators could be close.
  • Never go near an alligator nest.

Best Alligator Safety Tips Florida  – Mating Season

  • During cooler months, alligators are generally lethargic and do not move around much
  • By the beginning of April, when the weather starts to warm, alligators become active, feeding more, looking for new territories and mating. 
  • It is during these times that alligator sightings are most prevalent.
  • Stay a safe distance of at least 50 feet away.

Saltwater Crocodiles In Florida 

You might be surprised to learn that Florida has more than 1,000 American crocodiles.

  • Florida has Saltwater crocodiles
  • Saltwater crocodiles can be seen Floridian Waters
  • Listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1975. 
  • State and federal laws prohibit killing, harassing and possessing crocodiles.

Emergency Contact

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. If you have a nuisance alligator in your area, contact the FWC office or call 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286). Your alternative is calling 911.

Also recommended for you: Iguanas on Sanibel and Captiva and Safety Tips For Florida Homeowners.

Antje Diana Baumgarten

Antje Diana Baumgarten

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