Many residents live on the bank of a canal, river or stream, and are rightly concerned about the entrance of an alligator to their property, especially if they have small children or pets. The most effective measure (though not necessarily ‘gator-proof) is installation of a wall or fence. Another possible deterrent is dense vegetation.
Any construction or planting like these discourages the animal from entering the area, where it may wish to bask or travel through. You should check your local laws and ordinances pertaining to erecting such a barrier.
THE ALLIGATOR BARRIER
An alligator is quite capable of climbing a barrier, but one can install an obstruction that almost certainly would prevent an alligator from entering a property. Ideally, such a structure should be at least 6 feet in height and an additional minimum of 20 inches should reach under the surface of the ground, since the alligator is an expert digger and if eager enough may resort to digging.
A smooth concrete wall is a good barrier. This describes a wall that does not have large protrusions, such as deep stucco, which would facilitate an alligator’s grip.
A fence may be an excellent deterrent. If a wooden fence, the wood slats should be vertical, not horizontal, as horizontal boards or slats may serve as a ‘ladder rungs’ for the alligator.
If a metal fence, it should be made of chain-link or panel contruction, woven in panels small enough to prevent an alligator slipping through. The fence should have installed at the top a metal-woven overhang (chain-link, panel, barbed wire etc.) of at least 20 inches in depth at a minimum angle of 45°. The angled portion of the barrier prevents a climbing alligator from advancing over the fence. The thickness/strength of the metal should ideally be 11.5 gauge or stronger; this guage in chain-link form, or its equivalent in other form, is the requirement of the State of Florida for permitted possessors of larger crocodilians (note that the lower the gauge number, the stronger the metal strand is). Furthermore, hatchling, yearling and small juvenile alligators may be able to pass through smaller fence links and panels, though larger, more dangerous alligators, will not.
Any such barrier should be properly installed and maintained and care should be taken not to permit trees, shrubbery or other vegetation to grow near or on the barrier that might serve as a “ladder” for alligators to climb.
Watch an alligator easily scale a fence, in the amatuer video below. Note the ineffectiveness of this kind of barrier.