Love is in the air for amorous alligators as their mating season begins, and everyone in Florida is on the lookout in case they come across lovesick gators who are more active, visible, and potentially more aggressive this time of the year.
On March 31, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office received a call of a sighting of a giant alligator under a parked car at an apartment complex in Tampa.
WRCBtv reported that the caller said to authorities that there is a nearby pond where the amorous alligator may have come from. However, it was not a small alligator because its size is over 10 feet.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission dispatched a team to capture the alligator and transfer it to an alligator farm uninjured. Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident.
Alligator Mating Season in Florida
According to The Guardian, April is the final month of the dry season in Florida and the start of amorous alligators' courtship. Their metabolism starts to wake up as temperature rises, which means they become more energetic and start to travel to look for mates.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission posted on their website and advised the public to be alert this time of the year.
"As a reminder, warm spring weather means alligators are more active and more visible," FWC wrote. "It also means they'll be observed basking in the sun as they regulate their body temperature."
Furthermore, they wrote that it is strictly prohibited to feed an alligator so, the public should always keep their distance when they spot one.
Additionally, the public is advised to only swim in designated swimming areas during daylight hours and keep their pets on a leash and far away from the water.
April is the month of courtship for alligators, and they start to mate in May and June, with the nesting season in late June and July. On average female alligators can lay 32 to 46 eggs that hatch by late summer or in early fall.
Their natural predator, at least for alligator eggs, is the raccoons, who destroy at least one-third of alligator nests. But despite that, alligators live in healthy numbers across the state, with over 1.3 million of them.
Taming Alligators: How Experts Do It
When alligators are in search of their mates, they could sometimes end up at someone's doorstep. Fortunately, wildlife cops are there to help capture gators who have come a long way from their habitat during mating season.
Miami Herald reported that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has been offering a training course for wildlife cops for over two decades now. The training is also available for curious news reporters who would want to be part of the action.
In 2016, they conducted a demonstration of how to tea an alligator. They used three live alligators, named Princess, Thor, and Loki, as training alligators to help humans practice.
They taped the mouths of the gators and warned the participants that these animals are stronger than them. When its time for the participants, they were asked to it at the back and held on to the alligator's jaw even when it was thrashing their tails.
"It was a confidence builder," officer Sean Carper said during an interview. "It alleviates the anxiety. You feel a lot more aware, a lot more informed."
Check out more news and information on Alligators in Science Times.