ORLANDO, Fla. – Alligators are on the move and looking for love across the Sunshine State.
Gatorland, the “alligator capital of the world,” says the giant reptiles are becoming a little more active across its theme park.
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“Alligator mating season is upon us,” said Brandon Fisher, director of media relations at Gatorland. “These guys are getting super excited, they’re communicating, they’re bumping noses and tails with each other and checking each other out. It’s a good time of the year to really learn, if you live here in Florida, or if you’re visiting about the do’s and don’ts about being around alligators.”
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, alligator courtship begins in early April with mating season beginning in May or June.
Females will build a mound nest of soil, vegetation or debris and lay an average of 32 to 46 eggs in late June or early July. The eggs will then hatch between mid-August to early September.
One area guests will see this type of activity is in the theme park’s 10-acre alligator breeding marsh. The area features 150 alligators, 100 females and 50 males, as well as a nesting ground for dozens of migratory birds.
Alligator Breeding Marsh at Gatorland (McReynolds)
During this time of the year, Gatorland experts said Floridians might see alligators on the move and even in rare places.
Last month, a Charlotte county construction crew found a large alligator inside a home that was still being built.
According to Florida wildlife officials, alligators prefer fresh water lakes and slow-moving rivers and their associated wetlands, but they also can be found in brackish water habitats. During mating season, more alligators are moving to various bodies of waters and to reproduce.
Alligator at Gatorland (McReynolds)
During breeding season, Gatorland is providing its guests with several tips to be aware of during this time.
Take a look at some tips below.
Alligators can be very territorial, and many are on the move looking for mates.
When water levels are low, this also puts alligators on the move.
Use extra caution in the morning or evening hours in shallow water, as alligators may think the splashing is an animal at the water’s edge.
Stay away from alligators you see in the wild and do not feed them.
Remember, it is against the law in the State of Florida to feed or harass an alligator in the wild.
Report any alligator concerns by contacting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Hear from one expert in the video at the top of this article.
Gatorland has been a leader in alligator safety and conservation since its inception in 1949.
Over 2,000 American alligators call the theme park home.
Click here to learn more about Gatorland.
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