ANIMAL ATTACK FILES
forwarded by AAF Correspondent: J.W.G.
warned to watch out for alligators
Tuesday, April 27, 1999
|Web posted at: 12:01 PM EDT (1601 GMT)
TAMPA, Florida (Reuters) -- Florida's 1 million alligators are on the prowl for mates and food, posing a threat to people and pets, state wildlife officials said Tuesday.
A Tampa man was bitten in the face by an alligator Monday while he was swimming in a canal, authorities said. He was in good condition at a Tampa hospital, and trappers killed the alligator, they said.
Two dogs have been killed in St. Petersburg by alligators in the past two weeks, authorities said. And several alligators have been seen walking by lakes and ponds and on a golf course in recent days, they said.
"Most alligators will quickly retreat at the approach of a human. If they don't, they've likely lost their natural fear and could become a problem," said Joy Hill, public information coordinator for the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission's Central Region.
Hill said the alligators were most active during the spring mating season, which lasts into June. The commission has recorded 248 alligator attacks against humans, nine of them fatal, since 1948.
Alligator sightings have become more common in Florida in recent years as residential and commercial development has expanded into areas where they live.
The commission urged people not to feed alligators and not to swim in lakes or ponds. Pets should not be allowed to walk near waterways or swim in lake or ponds, it said.
Copyright 1999 Reuters.