MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Love is in the air, if you’re an alligator.
Alligator mating season begins every year in early April, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
As summer approaches and temperatures continue to rise, you might have a few more gator sightings because amorous alligators become more active as they look for potential mates during the peak of mating season.
Actual mating takes place in May or June, but the reptiles begin their courtship phase every April, according to the FWC.
The sudden activity follows several months of almost bear-like winter hibernation, according to experts. It’s likely more alligators will be seen in lakes, rivers and habitats where they live and males will also move over land during this time of year, from one body of water to another.
Once on the edge of extinction, alligators are now considered fully recovered in all of their native-range states, according to the FWC.
While experts say gators aren’t as aggressive during mating season, it’s still best to keep your distance, especially when you know one is nearby.
Experts believe there are more than a million alligators in Florida, residing in all of the state’s 67 counties.
Here are some important gator tips to remember:
Call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Alligator Hotline (866-392-4286) for any gator over four feet in length that you feel is posing a threat to life or property.
Every year the Conservation Commission gets nearly 20,000 calls to its nuisance alligator hotline, 1-866-FWC-GATOR (392-4286). About half of those calls result in gators being removed.
Calls begin to spike in the spring when the frisky gators get a boost of metabolism. Females build nests and lay eggs in late June-July.