It is likely that at one time or another, you may see an alligator in or near the water bodies. Tavares is surrounded by three large, multiple small lakes, including the Dora Canal, which all provide for the movement of large alligators across the lake system. However, this does not eliminate the possibility of movement over land. During the colder months, Alligators may sun themselves on land to maintain their body temperature. May and June are their mating season, and they tend to become more visible as they traverse between water bodies, seeking a mate. As a result of urbanization around traditional alligator habitats, there has been increased contact between alligators and people. Their ability to adapt has resulted in alligators being found in what would seem to be unlikely places: underneath cars in driveways, in drainage ditches, swimming pools, and on golf courses.
It is advised that you treat any water body as having the possibility of an alligator. Also, remember the lakes, retention ponds, and canals are all homes for alligators.
If you see an alligator, stay calm. They generally have no intentions of bothering you. Feeding, harassing, or killing alligators violates State law, so just leave them alone. Only nuisance alligators can be removed, and the FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) will make that determination and contact a licensed trapper.
Alligators depend on the wetlands, and in many ways, the wetlands depend on them, as they help control the population of rodents and other animals that might overtax the marshland vegetation.
FWC Information text:
It’s time to brush up on tips for living with alligators
The American alligator, Florida’s state reptile, is an important part of Florida’s wetland habitats. This large reptile is found throughout the state in freshwater lakes, ponds, swamps, and slow-moving rivers.
During spring, alligators become more active and visible. When temperatures rise, their metabolism increases, and they begin seeking prey. Although alligator bite incidents resulting in serious injury are rare in Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recommends taking precautions when having fun in and around the water.
Because alligators control their body temperature by basking in the sun, they can be easily observed. If you see an alligator, keep your distance. Also, never feed alligators because it is dangerous and illegal. When fed, alligators can overcome their natural wariness and learn to associate people with food.
Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn. To reduce the chances of conflicts with alligators, swim only during daylight hours and in designated swimming areas.
The FWC also recommends pet owners keep their animals on a leash and away from the water because pets can resemble an alligator’s natural prey.
The FWC places the highest priority on public safety and urges people who believe an alligator poses a threat to people, pets or property to call FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286). When someone concerned about an alligator calls the Nuisance Alligator Hotline, the FWC will dispatch one of our contracted nuisance alligator trappers to resolve the situation. The FWC also works diligently to keep Floridians and visitors informed, including providing advice about living with alligators. https://myfwc.com/conservation/you-conserve/wildlife/gators
The American alligator is a conservation success story. Florida has a healthy and stable alligator population, which is estimated at 1.3 million alligators of every size. Learn more about alligators at MyFWC.com/Alligator.