Some alligators look for love in all the wrong places; gator mating season is heating up

Mating season can be tough on gators & humans
Posted at 4:45 AM, Mar 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-24 07:25:18-04

If you're a male alligator in the bay area, you're feeling pretty good about yourself these days.

Weather is warming up. It's kinda rainy, offering better aquatic accommodations.

In fact, it feels like a great time to find a girlfriend.

And some of them do.

And, well, some don't -- and those are the ones humans have to beware.

Alligator love can be tricky.

"Definitely this is the time of year when we see a lot of movement [from male alligators] as they start to look for places to find a female," says Dr. Ari Fustukjian, an associate veterinarian at the Florida Aquarium. "If you go out to any of our parks in the evenings, there will be a lot of courtship behaviors. You'll hear these really loud bellows."

Dominant males will often displace weaker ones, and those smaller weaker banished gators -- the lovelorn! the snubbed! the lonely! -- are the ones that wind up in your retention ponds and your back yards.

"As they start to do a lot of courtship and combat, the bigger animals will drive the smaller animals out to the edges, and we'll start to see them pop up on our golf courses and in our swimming pools," says Dr. Fustukjian. "The biggest alligators are out in the middle of nowhere because they get the best territory."

If you do have an alligator on your property, DO NOT FEED THEM.

"A gator that hasn't been fed by people isn't going to see people as a food source, they're going to be more afraid of you than you are of them," says Dr. Fustukjian. "So just stay away, use common sense....If an alligator thinks that people are a source of food, you'll see a lot of those negative interactions. Pets go missing."

If you do have an alligator on your property, call the Fish and Wildlife Commission or Animal Control Services.

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