What happens after a nuisance alligator is captured?

Reporter: Elizabeth Biro
Published: Updated:

For alligators, the month of May means we are in the heart of mating season in the Sunshine State.

Alligator encounters are happening all over Southwest Florida, from places like Collier County, Fort Myers, and Venice. In all of those cases, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission came to wrangle the gators away.

But after the reptiles are hauled away, what happens?

It can be more likely than not that those animals end up dead, but one professor told WINK News something we do seals their fate long before a trapper gets the call.

Florida Gulf Coast University professor Win Everham catches gators in a white button-down and a tie.

“We have permits from FWC. We captured alligators who put radios on them, then we tracked them,” said Everham.

After the gator is caught and the tracker is on, the apex predator is released. But what about the one found in a Venice home that was hauled off?

Or the one waiting at the front door of a home in Fort Myers and dragged away after giving the homeowners a fright.

Don’t forget about the alligator caught after attacking a man in Naples; where do they go?

The short answer is they’re turned into nuggets or wallets.

FWC sent WINK News a statement saying:

“When a contracted nuisance alligator trapper removes an alligator, it becomes the property of the trapper.”

“In most cases, the alligator is processed for its hide and meat, which is the primary source of compensation for their services. Occasionally, a nuisance alligator is sold alive to an alligator farm, animal exhibit, or zoo.”

“A phrase that a lot of people use, if they’re fed, they’re dead, to try to get people to understand that when you feed an alligator. It overcomes its natural fear of humans,” said Everham.

When alligators aren’t afraid, that’s when they approach people. After that, Everham says wranglers don’t have much of a choice. You can’t move it somewhere it can threaten more people.

On the bright side, the alligator population is thriving in Florida.

“The people who do the alligator captures have to be able to make money, so I understand that we were creating economic incentives for them to do that,” said Everham.

An important takeaway is not to feed gators and keep your small dogs away from the water’s edge. If you don’t, in the blink of an eye, the ambush predators won’t hesitate to seal their fate or possibly even yours.

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