Certified alligator trapper Rick Kramer’s phone rang Wednesday morning. The caller said an alligator was strolling down a street in Palm Beach County.
Kramer wasn’t at all surprised by the information. He says it’s that time of year.
Alligator mating season, the evolutionary capper for the courting season that started in early April, kicked off Thursday.
“All kinds of crazy stuff goes on at this time of year,” said Kramer, who own Kramer’s Gator Control in West Palm Beach. “It’s emergency calls at 3,4,5,6 in the morning. Especially once we get a little bit of rain. The gators start moving around. They’re looking for love, out and about.”
Kramer says he fields calls about alligators roaming around people’s homes, in swimming pools, public parking lots, and just about everywhere.
There are approximately 1.3 million alligators in Florida, and the reptiles are found in all 67 counties in the Sunshine State, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The good news, the FWC says, is that alligator mating season doesn’t mean contact between people and alligators increases — but alligators are most active and visible when the weather is warm, and June is one of the hotter months of the year.
The gator Kramer wrangled on that suburban street Wednesday was a docile 10-footer. That’s not always the case, he said.
Kramer battled a gator about that size a few years ago in a woman’s kitchen in Wellington.
“It wasn’t a small gator. It was a very large gator, it was over 10 feet,” he said. “I just remember (the woman) was in her bedroom and she wasn’t coming out until the gator was gone.”
Kramer says he wrestled with the gator and was able to slip a rope around its neck. But then the alligator went into a “death roll,” where it rolls over and over and over.
“Me and him destroyed quite a bit of stuff in her kitchen,” Kramer said.
He believes the reptile got in the house through a sliding glass door that was left open.
It’s a good reminder that an alligator can be almost anywhere.
“I just heard on the radio this morning they found one in the post office,” Kramer said.
He’s right. A 7-foot alligator was found lounging in the vestibule of a post office in Spring Hill, Fla., on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, an alligator bit a woman on the leg as she and her dog walked near a lake. A witness said the gator’s target was the dog, and the woman got in between the two, WPEC-News Channel 12 reported.
Because alligators see most pets as prey, the FWC recommends pets be kept on a leash and away from the water’s edge.
The FWC also says alligators are most active between dawn and dusk. When swimming, do so only in designated areas during daylight.
Anyone with questions can call the FWC’s Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286).