BRADENTON, Fla. -- During the spring, summer and early fall are when alligators are most active according to Damen Hurd, Vice-President of Wildlife, Inc. at Mixon Farms. Which may explain the rash of recent alligator attacks across the state. Mothers can be most aggressive.
"They're going to be more likely to come out of the water and try to attack you to protect their nest site and once their babies hatch out, they're very protective of their young as well for close to a year after the babies hatch out...so you don't want to go in that area when you see babies."
Numbers show gator attacks are uncommon and rarely fatal.
Florida Fish and Wildlife says of the 12 gator attacks in 2013, 7 required serious medical attention beyond first aid. Many of these attacks can occur unprovoked when people feed them on a regular basis or there's a heavy amount of fish traffic. Hurd states if you do happen to see one in someone's yard or their natural habitat--there may be a few things you want to look out for.
"If you hear any hissing or growling thats all signs that the alligator is definetly upset."
Jill Parnell, Assistant Park Manager at Myakka River State Park, sees alligators on a daily basis. She implores visitors, especially ones with pets, to use common sense.
"They do and have taken small dogs, keep them on a six foot leash. It's their habitat and we need to respect their space."
Teenager Wyatt Christie spots alligators all the time and has learned at a young age how to respect them.
"They don't get close, when they do get close, you back up, get in your boat and get in a different area."