Every Floridian knows that with early spring comes alligator mating season… And a whole lot more gators popping up at home.
Take this big gent for example, who clocks in at over 10-feet long. Found at a Tampa apartment complex, the large alligator made his way to residents’ cars before someone could alert the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. There he remained, measuring longer than the vehicle he was lying under, until authorities could arrive to remove him.
“The caller advised there was a pond nearby, but this was no small gator… it was 10’2′!!!” the sheriff’s office penned on their Facebook page Tuesday.
Apparently, the same gator has gone viral on TikTok as the complex’s residents filmed him in action. According to the Sheriff’s office, however, “it doesn’t get better than this angle from Deputy Wheaton’s body cam!“
Fortunately, they note, no one was injured – human or gator-wise, before the call came in at 8:45 a.m. March 31. Florida Fish & Wildlife then “dispatched a contracted nuisance alligator trapper to transfer the alligator to an alligator farm.”
With FWC on hand, the gator was safely restrained, and then lifted into the back of a wildlife transport truck. And it only took four grown men to do so:
Alligator Mating Season is A-Go in Florida
As Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office notes, “it’s that time of year!” Mating season is a-go for Florida gators, and we don’t mean the college Football team (though we’re sure it applies there, too).
During spring, “gators become more visible and active during spring and summer! When temperatures rise, their metabolism increases, and they start looking for food,” HCSO notes.
In Florida, alligator courtship begins as April rolls around. From there, mating season takes full effect in May or June, depending on the spring climate. And as gators come out in search of partners, residential sightings increase tenfold.
Before long, it’s time for baby gators. Come late June/beginning of July, female alligators will lay clutches that can reach well over 40 eggs. Then, after an incubation period of about 60 days, tiny gators will break through their eggshells just before autumn arrives.
In light of increased sightings and potentially dangerous encounters, HCSO and FWC have issued the following statement to fellow Floridians:
HCSO and FWC want to make sure you know what to do in the event you find yourself in a similar situation as this one!
Keep a safe distance
Keep your pets on a leash and away from the water’s edge
Swim only in designated swimming areas during the daylight (gators are most active between dusk and dawn)
NEVER feed a gator
People with concerns about an alligator should call FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 𝟴𝟲𝟲-𝟯𝟵𝟮-𝟰𝟮𝟴𝟲.