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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Another sign that Spring has sprung; the state’s wildlife agency has issued an alert to Florida’s visitors and residents alike – watch out for crocs and gators.

As spring weather replaces cold winter, Florida’s alligators and crocodiles become active.

Florida is home to the American alligator, which is found in all 67 counties, and the American crocodile, which may be found in coastal areas of the Keys and in southeast and southwest Florida. Both species have been here for centuries.

On Thursday the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) issued a notice reminding people across the state to be cautious when having fun in and around water.

The FWC recommends keeping pets away from the water. Don’t allow pets to swim, exercise
or drink in or near waters that may contain alligators. Dogs often attract an alligator’s interest, so do not swim with your dog

Never feed alligators – it’s dangerous and illegal. When fed, alligators can overcome their natural wariness and learn to associate people with food.

Be aware of the possibility of alligators near or in fresh or brackish water. Bites may occur when people do not pay close enough attention to their surroundings.

Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn. Therefore, avoid swimming at night.

The FWC advises people who have concerns with an alligator or crocodile posing a threat to people, pets or property, to call the FWC’s Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (392-4286).

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