What to Do if You Encounter an Alligator in Lakeland, FL
June 15, 2023 | Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers | Personal Injury
Alligators are just as synonymous with the state of Florida as its numerous beaches. Though encountering a gator in suburbia is an unusual occurrence, it can become much more common when you start exploring the Lakeland area’s parks, preserves, and safaris.
As such, it’s important to know what to do and how to protect yourself if you encounter an alligator out on the street or on a golf course. Read through the following tips and keep them in mind before exploring the local parks and preserves unprepared.
Stay at a Safe Distance
Starting off, a good rule of thumb is that if you see an alligator far away, stay away. It’s vital that you keep a distance of at least 30 feet between you and the gator. They will hiss when something threatening approaches, which humans typically are, in their eyes, so if you hear hissing, you’re definitely too close. Slowly back away, but do not turn your back on the alligator. Keep an eye on it so you know whether it’s planning to follow you or leave you alone.
Don’t Go Exploring After Dark
Although alligators are cold-blooded, they tend to be most active between the hours of dusk and dawn. You may see them soaking up the sunshine during the day, but it’s during the night when they prowl, explore, and hunt. If you want to go swimming, boating, or exploring the rivers, do so during daylight hours.
Beware — Gators Are Fast
Alligators may look lazy, but those short legs can provide a surprising amount of speed. If you realize you’re too close to one, carefully try to predict which way it will go. Back up slowly if you can while keeping your eye on it, but if the alligator starts chasing you, turn and run.
Know a Gator’s Habitat
Alligators like sunning themselves on lake and river banks, so you’re most likely to encounter them waterside. If you’re walking through a park or nature preserve, it’s unlikely that you’ll run into an alligator on the trail unless the trail winds along a river or lake. Always be alert and careful when you’re near water.
Don’t Share a Fishing Spot
If you’re planning to fish in Florida, check for alligators first, and go elsewhere if you notice one nearby. The fish you lure will, in turn, lure the alligators, too. If you clean your catches on the spot, don’t throw scraps in the water unless you want to lure alligators to your spot, as fish guts will draw them near.
Never Feed the Alligators
Under no circumstance should you ever feed wildlife of any kind in Florida, especially alligators. Even if you think you’re someplace safe, it’s still a dangerous act for yourself and others.
Even if the gator doesn’t decide you’re a better snack than what you’re feeding it, the true danger lies in what the animal will learn: People will feed them, or at least, the spot where you’ve fed them is a good place to return for food. Future visitors to that location may be in serious danger should a herd of alligators show up expecting a meal.
Avoid Tall Stands of Grass
Alligators like to camouflage and hide in piles of sticks and grass, waiting for prey to approach. Female alligators also build nests that look like clumps of grass and sticks and are very territorial about defending them.
What to Do if an Alligator Approaches You
If you’re unlucky enough to have an alligator come onto your lawn or a nearby area, get inside quickly, and do not try to chase it away. Call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Alligator Nuisance Line at 888-FWC-GATOR.
Contact the Lakeland Personal Injury Law Firm of Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today
For more information, please contact Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with a Personal Injury lawyer in Lakeland today. We have five convenient locations in Florida, including Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Lakeland.
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
601 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL 33606
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
600 Bypass Dr Suite 224-D, Clearwater, FL 33764
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg Office
111 2nd Ave NE Suite 350, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
5006 Trouble Creek Rd Unit #200, Port Richey, FL 34652
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Lakeland Office
1543 Lakeland Hills Blvd Suite 18, Lakeland, FL 33805