ORLANDO, Fla. - How to live with alligators. Yep, you must be in Florida.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on Monday issued a warning to residents about gators.
Alligators, which inhabit all 67 counties in Florida and can be found anywhere there is standing water, become more active in spring as temperatures rise, the FWC said.
Courtship also begins in early April, with mating season in May and June.
Although gator incidents with humans are rare, the FWC offered tips about how to avoid alligators.
"Reduce the chances of conflicts with alligators by swimming only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours," wildlife officials said. "Also, keep pets on a leash and away from the water."
The FWC also urges people to keep their distance if they see an alligator and to never feed alligators, which is dangerous and illegal.
The FWC offers a Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program to address complaints concerning specific alligators. The hotline number is 866-FWC-GATOR.
Wildlife officials said the American alligator is a conservation success story, with Florida having an estimated population of 1.3 million.
"They are an important part of Florida’s ecosystem, but should be regarded with caution and respect," the FWC said.
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