Summer months mean gators are on the move

Summer months mean gators are on the move

By Julie Salomone. CREATED Jul 13, 2012 - UPDATED: Jul 13, 2012

NAPLES, Fla. - Carl Nicholson doesn't show the slightest bit of fear when it comes to gators.

He's an alligator handler and airboat captain at the World Famous Wooten's in the Everglades.
Some of the gators here weigh nearly 800 pounds and lived in the wild at some point.

There's nearly 80 alligators in the pond at Wooten's. Most of the gators were nuisance alligators and were caught in Southwest Florida including places like Naples and Marco Island.

Most likely your average close encounter won't be with a gator weighing 800 pounds, but Florida Fish and Wildlife has proof some are getting too close for comfort. Last month alone, they received 40 calls about nuisance gators. In July, FWC has already received 16 calls.

"Right now, it's been pretty dry in areas so a lot of the gators are looking for water," said
Carl Nicholson, gator handler at Wooten's Airboat Tours.

Mating season might be over, but when the temperature rises, gators tend to move more.

"You never know where an alligator is going to pop up now. The hotter it gets...the better
their muscles work. The faster their metabolism is...the faster they digest food plus a lot of them are looking for water right now," said Nicholson.

If you spot a gator and it's threatening you, your pets or property, call Florida Fish and Wildlife.

"When they see something small like a dog or a cat, they do look at that as food," said Nicholson.

Mating season for gators is typically between April and May. Alligators have now laid their eggs. In the summer months, gators tend to be more active.
In periods of droughts, gators also tend to move around more.

Nuisance Alligator Hotline: 1-866- FWC-GATOR or 1-866-392-4286


Julie Salomone

Fox 4