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alligator

Q:  We have spotted a small alligator in the pond in our back yard. Who can I call to have it removed? 

Q:  We have spotted a small alligator in the pond in our back yard.  I have an eight year old and one teenage son who are very curious.  We also have small pets.  Who can I call to have it removed?

A:  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be able to help you with removal of nuisance alligators.  Alligators are generally not aggressive unless they have been hand fed by humans. Please tell your sons and neighbors not to toss food to the alligators and remind them these are wild animals and should not be treated as domesticated pets.  Small alligators (3 feet and under) are usually naturally afraid of humans and will not be a threat to humans or pets.  However, if the alligator is over 4 feet it would be best to contact the FFWCC at 1 866 392-4286 regarding removal the creature.  Do not attempt to capture the alligator yourself as this must be done by a licensed professional trapper.  Regardless of its size, if it becomes aggressive or does not retreat when a human approaches then the FFWCC should be called immediately.

This is an excellent opportunity to teach your children about the importance of protecting wildlife while also respecting their natural habitats.  Remind children who they should go to in case an accident occurs in the pond or who would be available to help if assistance is needed. Children should never be left alone around a body of water; however, it is prudent to be prepared for the potential mishap.  Water and wildlife are always attractive to children and a few hours of instruction in advance could prevent a lifetime of heartache.  Attached is the website for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission regarding nuisance alligators.  http://myfwc.com/WILDLIFEHABITATS/Alligator_nuisance.htm