Here's why warmer weather brings out Florida wildlife

Consider tips below to stay safe with snakes, gators, bears

By Candace Campos - Meteorologist

ORLANDO, Fla. - Snakes, gators and bears, oh, my!

As Central Florida transitions into a warmer weather pattern, wildlife has been known to become more active, finding their ways near -- or even inside -- some homes.

Here are the top three animals to keep an eye out for this spring and summer:

1. Alligators

As the temperatures heat up, so do alligators' tempers. Known for their dinosaur-like appearance and strong bite, alligators have been known to be more active and even more aggressive through the warm months of the year.

[RELATED: Girthy gator: Florida trappers snag 12-foot, 500-pound monsterKnock, knock: Massive gator startles Merritt Island homeowner | Where to see wild alligators in Central Florida]

Jim Cutway via WKMG

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, alligators will start their courtships in the spring and mate in the early summer. During this time, you will begin to see males traveling from pond to pond, trying to find their mate. While they're on the hunt, more people tend to be enjoying their
time outside while trying to stay cool around bodies of water. This is when human-alligator encounters also increase.

Especially this time of the year, keep your pets leashed and away from murky water. Never feed alligators and always swim only in designated swimming areas.

2. Snakes

Florida is home to nearly 60 species of snakes and many are around year round in Florida, but you do have a better chance of running into one -- or even being bitten by one -- as the weather warms up.

BillC/Wikimedia

The increase in snakes in popular areas can be dangerous, as that is also the time of the year when folks head outdoors to do yard work and other activities.

[MORE: Snake found in dryer gives Florida woman 'near death experience']

Only six of the species native to Florida are venomous, but you should never approach or grab a snake, even if you believe it’s safe. Keeping your eyes peeled in and around your home is key.

The best rule of thumb: Pay attention to your surroundings and make sure to look before reaching into any cool, dark places. Those places tend to be perfect hiding spots for those slithery reptiles.

3. Bears

As outdoor temperatures rise, the population of bears start coming out of hiding.

Florida black bear (Photo credit: FWC)

The weather in Florida never truly gets cold enough for bears to hibernate, but they do take it easy in their dens during the cooler months. That is certainly true for pregnant bears, as their cubs are usually born between January and February.

Bears are on the move primarily for one thing: food. This is where we tend to see the viral videos of bears nearing homes and businesses as they rummage for some snacks.

Interaction between humans and bears can be dangerous, so some communities have come together to limit food that is available near homes.

One way to do that is by purchasing bear proof trash cans that have more advanced hinge design to ensure no bear will get into the trash.

[WATCH BELOW: Florida black bear wanders around front yard in Lake Mary]

MORE: Watch: Bear safety tips from FWC

According to Florida Fish and Wildlife officials, the population of the Florida black bear has increased 17 percent, with an average of 1,200 bears in Central Florida.

Florida is known for its beaches, sunshine and wildlife. Talking a few extra precautions and paying attention while you enjoy the outdoors can help keep humans and the surrounding wildlife safe and happy.

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