Saturday, September 15, 2018

Nuisance Alligator Removal: What to expect after you call the FWC.

To me, the term "Nuisance Alligator" is a little like the term "Weed".
After all, in most cases, a "Weed" is just a plant in the wrong place at the wrong time. 
Here's an example of that idea, ... an example that I deal with weekly.
Here in Florida, we have a native flowering plant known as "Spanish Needles" (Genus:Bidens).
Now, Spanish Needles are spectacular insect attractors. All kinds of pollinators flock to its abundant white blossoms. Anywhere you see it, you will see butterflies, beetles, and other insects flitting from blossom to blossom.
The problem with Spanish Needles is the abundant double pronged needle-like seeds it produces.

(Don't leave, this is a nuisance alligator post, I'm just making a point here.)

I love seeing vast patches of Spanish Needles on the roadside, in the woods, along ranch fence rows, but NOT, NOT, NOT in my garden.  If you leave even one unpulled, you may lose the battle because of Bidens' crazy seed production.
Good plant along a roadside, Nuisance WEED in my garden.

Point made.
Now about this "Nuisance Gator" process.

Over the Summer, this 4.5 foot long unusually human acclimated gator showed up in our small pond. I posted about him in this post.

I let him stay for a month or so, hoping he would leave on his own, but he chose to stay.
At 4.5 feet long, he was just entering the danger zone and with 2 crazy Labradors living here, he had to go.

I went to the FWC Nuisance Gator website and made a phone call after reading about the process.
During the call, basic information (size of gator and my location, etc) was taken.
I was told the trapper would contact me by phone within 24 hours.
That is exactly what happened.
We set the appointment for the next day.
On that day, the trapper had one other call to do first, but he and his partner showed up mid-morning.
After a quick recon of the pond and the gator's current location, the trappers returned to their truck for a noose and a large surf fishing rod.
The gator cooperated on the first cast but broke the 100 lb test line as it was hauled in.
The trapper exchanged that fishing rod for another one loaded with 200lb fishing line, rebaited, and again the gator cooperated immediately.

(I think he was really hungry because there are currently no fish larger than Gambusia minnows in my pond.)

Once the gator took the bait, the trapper reeled him up on to the bank. His assistant noosed the gator and then she held the noose pole, pinning the gator while the trapper straddled him and taped his mouth shut.

It was all very smooth, efficient, and professional.

I especially appreciated hearing the trapper say, "Sorry little buddy, this just isn't your day."

I was thinking the same thing at that moment.

The gator went into a large containment box in the trapper's pickup along with a previously trapped relative.
Then they were off to the next appointment.

And yes, this gator was almost assuredly harvested, not relocated. The FWC operator specifically asked if I understood that would be the outcome.

I did.
Did I wish he could just be relocated?
Of course.
Would that have been a good idea for this one?
No, wherever he came from, he must have been fed by humans, because he had absolutely no fear of me and would follow me around the pond.

Cute at 4 feet, potentially deadly in 3 years when he's 7 feet long and still associates humans with food.

This was my first time using the FWC Nuisance Alligator program and it was a seamless, smooth, and professional operation from start to finish.


Paul said...

If there were no fish in your pond he could eat, why had he stayed around? Was he expecting you to feed him?

R.Powers said...

Maybe, I did catch him in the act of snapping at surface minnows and once with a turtle in his jaws.
...and there are a million frogs down there so I'm sure he ate a bunch of those.

Dan said...

By coincidence, there was an article in the Tampa paper yesterday about the fate of "relocated" alligators.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Very interesting. Dang nice that you have someone to call who is up-front, kind and professional. Thanks for the lesson on nuisance gators. I get it! Cute at 4'; deadly at 8. I am seeing a lot of black bear posts on Facebook--there's some kind of population explosion going on in VA -- and am amazed that people continue to feed birds with bears climbing up onto their decks for the seed. That's braver than me. I'm skeert of those things.

Wally Jones said...

Good post and description of the process. Most folks have no idea what happens to the nuisance 'gators so it's good to have one's eyes wide open about their fate.

Now, if could just remember to pick all those Spanish Needles off before I get home and re-seed the lawn ...