PINECREST, Fla. (WSVN) — With increased sightings of alligators and crocodiles in South Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is preparing it’s officers for encounters with these large reptiles.

A gator found in a Pinecrest swimming pool and a gator found outside of a Tampa home are just two of the recent sightings of alligators in Florida. “For the last two weeks, we’ve probably had over 12 alligator calls and a couple of crocodile calls,” said Lorenzo Veloz of Florida Fish and Wildlife.

Spring has already proven to be a busy time for the FWC, and they have recently added new officers to help respond to calls. “The officers that you see here today are five new officers that are in Dade County,” Veloz said. “Now that it’s alligator breeding season, they are seen, they’re more out and available for the public to see, so what we’re doing is, we’re preparing these officers for the event of when that happens and not only that, also to educate them on the safety surrounding the people that are there, and also the safety of the animal.”

Putting safety first, officials ask that people keep a few tips in mind should they encounter one of the reptiles. “We want people to enjoy the environment and take pictures of these guys from a distance, but never try approaching them,” Veloz said. “The best thing is to call 911 and let them know that there’s an alligator or a crocodile present. Keep your distance and observe. Don’t mess with them, they don’t like to be bothered, and of course, safety is key. The further you are away from them, the safer you’re gonna be.”

Officials also advise Florida residents to brush up on their alligator knowledge.


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