There aren’t many big predators walking around in Florida. Wolves are gone, bears are rare and panthers are nearly extinct. But in the water, it’s different. Florida’s fresh water has alligators and crocodiles — big toothy reptiles. In the ocean there are sharks — big toothy fish. Of course, hardly anyone gets bitten by gators or sharks, but it happens enough to make us all a bit nervous.
It’s great to be able to share the state with animals that have been living here for millions of years, but we have to be careful. If the sign says “Alligators — No Swimming,” then you shouldn’t be swimming! Even if there are no signs, you should always use common sense when swimming or wading. Learn a bit about sharks and gators so you’ll know where they like to hang out. Be especially careful late in the day or at night, when a lot of animals are thinking about dinner.
Never, EVER feed wildlife.
Feeding wildlife is illegal and it’s the quickest way to turn a shy predator into a dangerous one. It is especially important to avoid alligators that other people might have fed.