RIVERBEND PARK – PLEASE DON’T FEED THE ALLIGATORS
Riverbend Park – Things To Do in Jupiter
Watching alligators — from a distance — is a highlight when you take a canoe or kayak paddling tour on the Wild and Scenic Loxahatchee River at Riverbend Park with JUPITER OUTDOOR CENTER.
Don’t touch them. Don’t toss food to the ‘gator, no matter how far you are away. Don’t splash them. Don’t throw stuff at them. Don’t yell at them. Don’t try to touch them with a tree branch or your paddle.
NEVER feed an alligator.
As we say on the Loxahatchee River in Riverbend Park, “A fed ‘gator is a dead ‘gator.”
“Alligators are the true residents of the Loxahatchee River. People should respect them and all wildlife. When people feed an alligator, the alligator sees them as a food source. Don’t feed them,” said a veteran kayaker on a recent afternoon at Riverbend Park.
An incident last year shows the danger of feeding ‘gators at Riverbend Park.
Observers said they saw people feeding an eight-and-one-half-foot alligator about 20 minutes past the Lainhart Dam, known as the First Dam to locals. When the alligator swam near their watercraft, the frightened boaters reported the alligator to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.
A FED ‘GATOR IS A DEAD ‘GATOR
In response to reports of an alligator approaching people at the Loxahatchee River, the Jupiter Police Department requested the FWC’s assistance.
FWC officials determined the alligator was a nuisance, which is defined by FWC as an alligator “at least 4 feet in length and the caller believes it poses a threat to people, pets or property.”
FWC issued a permit to a contracted nuisance alligator trapper. The licensed trapper caught the alligator at Riverbend Park.
The trapper taped its mouth shut. The alligator, its thick tail loudly flapping, was taken away in the back of a truck.
The alligator was euthanized.
The alligator likely approached the water craft because it had been fed by a person on another watercraft. Once an alligator is fed, it associates a watercraft with food.
“How tragic for a ‘gator to be killed because of the mistakes of human beings — please do not feed wildlife,” said Rick Clegg, owner of Jupiter Outdoor Center, which rents kayaks and canoes on the Loxahatchee River.
(Photo/Palm Beach Post)
JUPITER OUTDOOR CENTER watercraft was not involved in the incident.
Trappers don’t relocate nuisance alligators, for two reasons.
First, alligators taken to another site often try to return to where they live. If they return, capturing it again would likely be tougher.
Second, delivering a new alligator to a remote area is asking for trouble.
Alligators have established social structures. A new alligator would likely cause fighting, maybe even the death of the new or resident alligator.
Tips to co-exist with alligators:
- NEVER feed an alligator.
- Keep pets away from the water’s edge at Riverbend Park
- If you see an alligator, keep your distance, about 60 feet at least. This applies if you are alone or with a group at Riverbend park
- If an alligator hisses or lunges at you, you are too close
- Swim only in a specific area after checking with a Riverbend Park or JUPITER OUTDOOR CENTER official.
- If you are approached by an alligator, stay calm. The alligator simply wants you to leave its territory; slowly paddling away should appease it.
- As with all events at Riverbend Park, JUPITER OUTDOOR CENTER asks you be careful and respectful of wildlife.
Contact the local leader in Outdoor Adventure — Go to Jupiter Outdoor Center at jupiteroutdoorcenter.com or call 561-747-0063.
For more THINGS TO DO IN JUPITER, check out our blog here.