Gulf Coast Local Secret # 7
Florida Alligators in the Wild
Seeing alligators in the wild is one of the thrilling sights you can experience along the Florida Gulf Coast. While you might just see them on drive down the highway, sitting on bank or swimming across a waterway, it’s more fun to see one from much closer up. Don’t worry. You can view them safely if you follow simple guidelines.
The good news is that Gulf Coast alligators are generally very well fed by their natural environment and they take no interest in you as food. However, it is best not to trigger their natural instincts. All you need to do is show them respect and keep your distance. An alligator can lunge twenty feet in a very swift charge so stay far beyond of this distance at all times. Also, avoid going between an alligator and the water. Never feed alligators. Please see this link for a complete list of safety tips for viewing alligators from an authoritative source.
Catch a Glimpse of Florida Alligators
The best places to view alligators in the wild are in Florida’s nature parks. The natural parks of the Gulf Coast are great places to take walks in the woods and along shorelines. When you are near the water, keep your eyes peeled and you might catch a glimpse of a Florida alligator. Two parks well-known for sightings are Chesnut Park in Palm Harbor and Sawgrass Park in Saint Petersburg. The secret of seeing alligators is to look for a low flat object in the water, barely above the surface. At Chesnut Park, try walking along the boardwalk next to the boat ramp. You stand a good chance of seeing baby alligators here, hiding among the brush beside the boardwalk. At Sawgrass Park, scan the main water way and its banks. You might find someone looking back!
Alligator Season in Florida
Alligators like warm weather so the best viewing times are spring, summer and fall. If it is cold, you might just see one, but most are tucked away out of sight so viewing opportunities are lower. Otherwise, stay alert whenever you are near fresh water ponds or rivers. Alligators are fun to watch and make great photographs for your Florida vacation photo album. See if you can get your sighting!
Note: If you fail to get your glimpse, try Homosassa Springs where very large, live alligators are on display.