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Alligator Tips To Keep You Safe This Summer

By Lynn Lewis - lynnl@landings.org
Communications Manager

Alligators are large, wild animals with very basic instincts, the most basic of which is to eat. But for your safety and that of the animal, NEVER FEED ALLIGATORS.

According to USDA Wildlife Biologist Jonathan Smith, alligators who have been fed lose their fear of people. These alligators eventually will need to be destroyed because of their lack of fear. In fact, in some states, including Georgia, it is illegal to feed alligators. This crime is punishable by a fine and or imprisonment.

“A fully grown alligator can reach 13 feet and 600 pounds and has a brain the size of a walnut,” Smith said. “They’re not into multitasking but rather have one thing on their minds—eating!”

Be extra aware of alligators during warmer months, as 75 percent of attacks occur from May to September, Smith cautions.

“Your chance of encountering an alligator is greatest during the animal’s courtship and mating season, which runs from March to September,” he said. “This is when male gators become more dominant and aggressive as they try to intimidate their rival males and attract females by their show of power. July through September are when mother gators are guarding their nests.”

The best way to live peacefully among these animals and avoid an alligator attack is to use caution and common sense. The following are a few things to remember:

  • Don’t feed alligators or attempt to pet them.
  • According to The Landings’ rules and regulations, residents, visitors, and guests may not swim or boat in the lagoons. Make sure your children and other friends that may be visiting know this as well.
  • Stay close to your dogs and animals, keeping an eye out for trouble.
  • Don’t take your dog running along the grassy edge of a lake or lagoon. Do not allow pets to drink or swim near waters that may contain alligators.
  • If you come upon an alligator, back away slowly. While it is rare for wild alligators to chase people, they can run up to 35 miles per hour for short distances on land.
  • Do not attempt to move alligators that are in the roadway or cart paths. Please call the Security Department instead. Alligators are territorial and often will exhibit aggressive behavior when they are threatened.
  • Mama alligators will protect their young for the first two years of their babies’ lives.

Share your knowledge of alligators with others to contribute to public safety and to promote a greater appreciation and understanding of these animals