6. Contact authorities if you suspect an alligator may pose danger.

Your state’s wildlife or environmental agency is authorized to investigate complaints from citizens regarding so-called “nuisance” alligators. In the event that you believe, based on observation, that an alligator poses a danger to you or others, it is wise to call the authorities. (Of course, in the rare event that someone is under attack, the best option is to call 911 Emergency for help, and to do what you can to help the victim.)

Usually, an alligator under 4 ft/ 1.2 m in length poses insignificant or no danger (in Florida, authorities generally do not remove alligators under four feet in length). If, however, you observe an alligator of any size behaving in such a way that convinces you that it may come into actual conflict with humans, the authorities should be contacted.

Learning all you can about alligators from various sources, including Living Among Alligators, can serve you well in estimating an alligator situation. The use of this knowledge will help you to contribute to public safety and also to avoid unnecessary fear in the event that an alligator may be in the vicinity, but not posing to the safety of humans.

Florida’s wildlife agents are kept extremely busy fielding more than 21,000 complaints annually, so the more the public learns about alligators, the less likely frivolous (though well-meaning) complaints will consume authorities’ valuable and limited resources – not to mention your own tax dollars. By learning as much as you can, you’re better able to assess the animal’s status in your community and distinguish between a real threat and a false alarm.

Did you know? To report a “nuisance” alligator, you may find contact information for your state’s wildlife authority here.