I was recently in Florida. And you may know that Florida is famous for “gators.” That is, the American Alligator, which is our largest reptile and can grow up to 15 feet long and weigh up to 1000 pounds.
Given that gators are carnivores and fast, it makes sense that there are signs all over telling people not to swim in water with gators or to feed the gators.
Yet, I not only saw people feeding the gators, they offered me cookies to toss to the gators. Two bad ideas in one. (Well, three, if you count wasting yummy cookies!)
Number 1 – cookies are not appropriate food for alligators.
Number 2 – It teaches the alligators that people will provide food and are safe to be around.
Wildlife experts in the South have learned that gators tend not to attack humans, except when they have become habituated to humans due to people feeding them. They suspect that the gator that killed the toddler at Disney World may have been fed regularly by visitors.
But it isn’t just gators that shouldn’t be fed. Please don’t feed the squirrels, the deer, or other wild animals. Let wild animals be wild.