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Gator mating season is here. This is what you need to know

Alligators begin courting in early April, while mating occurs in May and June.

TAMPA, Fla. — Social distancing walks are one of the few things you can leave your house to do during the coronavirus pandemic.

It's a great way to get out of your house and get some exercise.

But, if you're taking a walk here in Florida, you're going to want to start paying attention. Alligator mating season is upon us.

Alligators are more aggressive during their mating season. During mating season in June 2018, a 12 and a-half-foot gator pulled a woman into a Florida pond and killed her.

Don't worry, deadly alligator attacks on humans remain rare. According to Florida Fish and Wildlife, the likelihood of a Florida resident being seriously injured during an unprovoked alligator incident in Florida is roughly only 1 in 3.2 million.

According to Florida Fish and Wildlife, courtship between two gators begins in early April.

Mating will then occur in May or June. Around late June or early July, the female gator will begin to deposit on average 32 to 46 eggs in her nest. Those nests are built out of soil, vegetation, or debris. 

Incubation for the eggs requires approximately 63-68 days, and hatching occurs from mid-August through early September. 

FWC says that alligators become sexually mature by the time they reach seven feet in length; however, females can reach maturity at just 6 feet long.

A female could take from 10 to 15 years to mature. A male could take eight to 12 years.

So what should you do if you come across an alligator on your walk?

The FWC says people should never feed alligators and to keep their distance if they see one. People can also stay safe by only swimming in designated swimming areas and keeping pets away from the water and on a leash at all times when they're out. 

You can read more about living with alligators on FWC's website.

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