Typically, alligators are not usually found to be aggressive creatures unless provoked or caused to feel threatened in some way. However the following combination of conditions have been found to place a part in the aggression and level of how territorial these creatures can be:
- Human population growth
- Mating season
Alligator attacks in relation to human population growth is largely due in part to people wanting to live on or near lakes, canals, etc. The percentage of accidental alligator bites has definitely increased for sure. Alligators are territorial, when heavy equipment for construction starts showing up and building right where the alligators use to call home. The alligators will move, however since they are territorial, they will not go far.
Alligators sort of have a built in navigation system that helps them know where they are and keeps them close to home. If someone else now resides where the alligator used to live, these creatures really aren’t going to care and will continue going on about their daily business as usual. A mistake that many people often make is feeding these creatures.
Alligators will and do bite. They act on instinct, and if they are fed by people they will no longer fear people and will eventually start to associate people with food, thus potentially leading to an attack.
Another time when alligators get particularly territorial and fussy is during a drought. About every 4 to 7 years this is known to occur. A drought is when the dry season lasts longer than the wet season. Basically, in places like Florida there is not a winter season. There is a spring and summer. Alligators move into each other’s territory at different times during a drought to find some deeper water they are hopefully able to locate food and safety.
Both food and water however, do become scarce when there is so much competition in the remaining waterways and this is when it is not out of the ordinary to find smaller alligators wondering across roadways and in backyards. One might even end up in your swimming pool. When this happens it is usually because these creatures are searching for water that is not so crowded. Being crowded, makes an alligator bad tempered.
This especially becomes a problem during mating season. When there is a drought, the water levels start getting low around the end of February and keep dropping until the rainy season finally starts.
Typically male alligators are not known to want to share their territories with other males. A male alligator of 9 feet can own a territory of about 2 square miles and could also have about 10-15 females in his territory, along with their children. A male alligator of 12-14 feet could have up to 3 square miles and have even more females within his territory.
During the mating month (May) male alligators simply will not put up with any other male in being in their territory at the same time. He will patrol and defend the territory at whatever cost.
When mother alligators are nesting, they too become very territorial and protective of their nests and offspring. Small male alligators have to steer away from big alligators.