ORLANDO, Fla. — It's alligator breeding season in Florida, which may mean being a little more cautious around waterways.
- More than a million alligators are in all 67 counties of Florida
- Breeding season for gators begins in April, lasts until June
- Gator expert recommends not entering bodies of fresh water
- FULL COVERAGE: Alligators in Florida and nuisance gators
Breeding season for the large reptiles starts in April and will run until about mid-June. Hatchlings will emerge from mid-August to early September.
Most of the time, the gators will stay in the water. But Brett Chism, who has more than 30 years’ experience at Gatorland in Orlando, says it’s not uncommon to see them on land this time of year.
There are about 1.5 million alligators in all 67 counties of Florida.
"You could see them in subdivisions... You could see them walking around roads due to the fact they get displaced by larger alligators," Chism said.
For the most part, alligators are afraid of people, but "there are always a few that see humans encroach on their territory," he said.
"If you see an alligator, the best thing to do is keep an eye on it, and if it starts coming toward you, back up. Chances are, he’s not going to come any farther," Chism said.
Chism encourages you to not go into fresh water.
"Don’t swim this time of year, especially in lakes and rivers. Oceans (are) not bad and what have you, because alligators preferably live in fresh water," Chism said.
And, of course, Florida wildlife officials urge you to never feed wild alligators.