What to do when an alligator attacks

FILE - Two American Alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) are pictured in Florida, Oct. 26, 2005. (Matthew Field / CC BY-SA 3.0 via MGN)

JUPITER, Fla. (WPEC) - It’s alligator mating season, which means we’re seeing a lot more gators than normal in South Florida.

“It’s breeding season, so they’re more active, kind of like we are if we’re looking for a mate,” said Amy Kight. “They’re going to be moving around from ponds and canals, any fresh body of water.”

Kight, with the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, says the rain brings them out, too.

“They’re cold-blooded, so they’ve got to get sunlight in order to regulate their body temperature,” said Kight.

Kight says if you’re anywhere near fresh water, you should assume a gator is nearby.

“You don’t want to be walking right on the water’s edge or walking your dog by the water’s edge,” she said.

If there’s a gator you see often that seems to like people just a little too much, you should report it.

“If you have an alligator that you’re already noticing really isn’t showing any fear of humans -- people are out and barbecuing and the alligator is coming up on the bank -- certain behaviors make you go, 'This doesn’t seem right,' you should report it to FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission),” said Kight.

You really shouldn’t come into contact with a gator, but if you do, you need to act fast.

“You can go for the eyes. Generally, you’re going to be up toward the head portion of the body, so try to poke it in the eye or punch it in the eye, something like that,” said Kight.

Mating season lasts until the end of summer.

If you see an alligator that’s a nuisance, FWC says you should call 866-FWC-GATOR.

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