The farther south you go on mainland Florida, the more likely you’ll see wild alligators. The best place to see them is Everglades National Park, at the Shark Valley Loop off the Tamiami Trail. The State had been keeping records of attacks since 1948 and saw the number escalate in the 1970’s. They can be found in any body of fresh or brackish water. Alligators are a part of the natural order down here and are really quite common in most of Florida’s lakes, rivers and streams. Jake the Crocodile was a wanderer. Download $2.49. in the Royal Palm area of Everglades National Park. google_ad_client = "pub-3201763656916690"; The models are now on display and our visitors are enjoying the opportunity to see an American saltwater crocodile and an American alligator, both fully grown. PH: 850-984-5297 However, traffic is heavy, the highway is narrow and there are few places to pull off the road. You can help by making contributions to Gulf Specimen Marine Lab & Aquarium, a tax exempt, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. The roadside ditch on the north side of the Tamiami Trail is also a good place to see alligators. In the 1970s, the Chamber of Commerce created an alligator costume with a long tail and an eye patch for the Christmas parade, and One-Eyed Joe, as he had been called for years, became “Blinky.” He was promoted as the world’s friendliest alligator. The frequency of serious, unprovoked alligator bites has grown in Florida, along with the state's population -- but fatal attacks remain rare. google_ad_height = 600; How about staying at a luxury resort? A juvenile alligator is more likely to be eaten by a big alligator than fall prey to another predator. Florida averages five unprovoked bites per year. Alligator bites are most likely to occur in or around water, as gators aren't well-equipped to capture prey on dry land. He had hunted out dangerous reptiles before, but the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission asked him to become a contract alligator hunter 5 years ago. His legs were untied and his nose untapped and the giant saurian needed only a little push before he took the plunge into the cool waters of his new home. American alligators inhabit most of the southeastern United States; primarily Louisiana, Florida, and Georgia. According to a 2015 survey, “the (Florida) lake that had the most gators overall was Lake George, located on the St. Johns River. That's... a lot of alligators. The largest ever caught in the sunshine state reportedly measured up to a staggering 17.4 feet-long. Your email address will not be published. You'll find our Gator Pond in the heart of our Gator Park (what some may call an alligator park) full of over 100 rescued and Wild Florida native alligators, with experts inside to tell you more about them. Their natural prey is anything they can swallow whole. Alligators are found in all 67 counties in the Sunshine State, too. According to Florida Fish and Wildlife, Lake George near the St. Johns River in northwest Florida has the most, with more than 2,300. They’re living dinosaurs we can observe today. He had been carefully tied and his nose tapped for the trip and no time was wasted in bringing the gator back to the park where he was transferred to a cart and transported by J.P. Garner to Gator Lagoon. Panacea, Florida 32346 A seven year old boy was bitten and dragged into a canal after he fell off his bike there. He was seen sleeping in front of the police station and occasionally hung out in front of Maas Brothers Department Store. Fiona Sunquist J.P. Garner and everyone at Homosassa Springs would like to welcome Binky’s friends and Lakeland and everywhere around the state to visit him in his new home”. Where to find Lobster in the Florida Keys, Spearfishing Tips and techniques for freedivers in the Caribbean and the Keys, The Matlacha Bridge – Great Fishing and More, Blind Pass – The best shelling and fishing on Sanibel, Copyright © 2020 | MH Magazine WordPress Theme by MH Themes. "I like it. But placing chain-link fence around the lake sounded tacky, and extending a concrete wall around the lake to match the rest of the Lake Mirror Promenade would cost an arm and a leg. They’re also common on the north side of Alligator Alley during the dry season. There doesn’t have to be a lot of water. Jack Rudloe Even the best efforts at keeping a body of … Alligators live in somewhat colder climates, whereas crocodiles can only be found in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. At least, that’s what the humans intended. In spring, alligators become more active as the days warm up. var AdBrite_Border_Color = 'CCCCCC'; Upon hearing the sad story, the residents of Lakeland grieved for their beloved alligator and built a monument to him on the shores of Lake Mirror where he had reigned as king for so many years. Dogs, cats, plastics, tin cans and occasional humans were added to their menu. The worst years for fatalities were 2001 and 2006, with three people dying each of those years from Florida alligator attacks. A lot of north west Florida is alligator free, as are most coastal cities. An alligator, 4 to 7 feet long, dragged the victim under water in the Seven Seas Lagoon about 9pm on June 14, 2016, at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa just outside ofT Orlando, Florida. He seemed to be adjusting to his new environment just fine and is swimming happily around the lagoon, making the acquaintance of his fifty new alligator neighbors and Jake the fifteen-foot crocodile. There's no award for having the most gators. Once he entered a church during a wedding, and was escorted back to the lake by motorcycle police officers coaxing him along with marshmallows. Alligators in Florida are a common sight in the wild and well worth seeing. The quick answer is not very. Thousands of them call the area home, and many of those could be called a monster gator. google_color_text = "000000"; var AdBrite_Title_Color = '0000FF'; Then came Blinky, a bull alligator with his own story. President The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), sometimes referred to colloquially as a gator or common alligator, is a large crocodilian reptile native to the Southeastern United States, with a small population in Mexico. They are opportunistic hunters They can be found in any body of fresh or brackish water. “So he started following Jake. P.O.Box 237 Historically, alligators ranged from southern Virginia to the Florida Keys, west to the Rio Grande and up to southern Oklahoma. Young children and pets are more likely to be attacked than large adults, yet adults are attacked. var AdBrite_Text_Color = '000000'; The FWC came and captured him. Another excellent viewing site for alligators is the Anhinga trail For a while he prevailed and chased the bigger Jake around the lake. The good news is that there are plenty of places that you can go and see them safely, as well as learn about these fascinating creatures. However, the friends and family of people they’ve killed or injured would disagree. “Being king of that lake (Mirror) down there, I guess he figured he had to be king here, too,” said J.P. Garner, attractions manager at Homosassa Springs, to The Lakeland Ledger in April 1979. The residents of this Lagoon are fed approximately five hundred pounds of fresh fish and beef every week so Blinky will have his share of the feast. They may look sleepy, but they can be fast and dangerous. Still, exercise caution. The alligators provide security. The farther south you go on mainland Florida, the more likely you’ll see wild alligators. Although it was illegal, people came down to the lake to feed him his favorite food, marshmallows. Download $19.99, Wildlife of Florida: Lizards The largest population of gators live in Gainesville, FL. One man wrote, “We’re talking about a cold-blooded reptile, not a cute little puppy.” The city commissioners, being Blinky fans themselves, considered several options. Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratories, Inc. Three years later, in June of 2018, an alligator killed a 47 year old woman in Davie Florida. Alligators appear in multiple places around the continental United States, but they're most predominantly known for living in Florida because of the Everglades and a large number of swamps. Alligators Everywhere. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. google_color_border = "FFFFFF"; google_ad_format = "120x600_as"; That increased to 7,114 last year, according to FWC data. It’s a boring stretch of road, so seeing who can spot the most gators first helps break the monotony. Look for them basking along the edge of almost any water body, canals, ponds and even water hazards on golf courses. “Blinky arrived at Homosassa Springs attraction just after nine o’clock riding in the back of the attraction’s white pickup truck. 1. By Jack Rudloe, President. The one eyed bull alligator was used to having his own way and was more aggressive and agile than Jake. They live in freshwater rivers, lakes, swamps, and marshes. The chance of someone being attacked is one in 3.2 million. Orlando topped the list, with 235, and Sarasota and Tampa came in second and third place, respectively, with 176 and 174 removals last year. They seem to be accustomed to bikes zipping by, but don’t get too close, and never feed or poke at them. The crocodile avoided him, hiding in the marshes, but Blinky kept hunting him. The best time to see them is when water levels are low. There doesn’t have to be a lot of water. As long as I can, I will continue to do this, ”says Hibler. Speeding cars are the biggest danger here. google_color_url = "008000"; Catching a glimpse of an alligator, especially near one of Central Florida's lakes, is not a surprise. If you don’t want to go into Everglades National Park you can always see gators basking on the north bank of the canal that runs along the Tamiami Trail (SR41). His father and mother tried to rescue him; the father was attacked by a second alligator. Large populations are found in Florida, southern Georgia, and Louisiana. The easiest way to see an alligator is to go to one of the many zoos and alligator farms, but if you want to see these impressive reptiles in the wild, there are several places you can go to increase your chances of getting a really good look at them. From 1973 to 2016 the human population in Florida swelled from roughly eight million people to twenty million and 24 people were killed by gators. I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.” And Blinky had learned the truth behind the admonition, “Be careful what you wish for!” A local taxidermist made a cast of Jake so he could be remembered and reproduced in fiberglass models. Nearly twenty years later, in 1998, Jake died from a fungal infection. //2007-08-21: wildlife, articles, places, root Making room for more desirable fish such as bass. google_ad_width = 120; The Hazardous Waters Alligators are able to be found both in brackish and fresh waters, including rivers, canals, ponds on golf courses and lakes. Videos from last week show one swimming in … In order to present a proper setting for Jake and Blinky, and to commutate their Battle of the Titans, we are planning a Disney-quality diorama prepared by Keith Padgett of Art FX- Studios in Crawfordville, Florida. Love them or hate them, alligators are part of Florida, and always will be. Lake Kissimmee near Orlando comes in second with just shy of 2,000. When Kevin Hibler is not working at the car wash, he is looking for alligators in Manat. The alligators here are known to leave the comfort of their watery homes and venture into the city towards shopping centers and other human populated areas. But if there were, would Lake Jesup claim the prize? The Everglades are home to more than anywhere else in the state. Florida Alligators eat a lot of trash fish. var AdBrite_URL_Color = '008000'; There are so many alligators in Florida, that it sometimes appears they are overpopulating. Kenny Ellingham of Creative Wildlife in Lecanto, Florida just made a new model from the original cast of Jake and created another model from a gator similar in size to Blinky to immortalize their famous battle in a new exhibit at Gulf Specimen Aquarium in Panacea, Florida. Blinky had to go. document.write(String.fromCharCode(60,83,67,82,73,80,84));document.write(' src="'+AdBrite_Iframe+'&ref='+AdBrite_Referrer+'" type="text/javascript">');document.write(String.fromCharCode(60,47,83,67,82,73,80,84,62));