Are there alligators at UNF?

Pierce Turner


UNF student Severine Wider demonstrates what not to do at the lake outside the University Center (photo by Richard Anderson).
This photo was posted along with Dan Endicott, Director of Environmental Health, post about alligator safety on campus. Photo courtesy of the University of North Florida

Alligator danger signs have been posted near bodies of water around campus but is there really any danger?


The signs warn to avoid alligator attacks and stay away from tall water grass and water. There is even a sign at the Herbert University Center that asks people not to feed gators. However, alligators are only seen on campus around three to four times a year according to Dan Endicott, Director of Environmental Health and Safety at UNF.

Alligators have been seen in the lake behind the University Center. In 2010, one was removed by UNF because of the feeding problem. Endicott addressed the question in a statement the same year.

“The alligator at the UC lake was removed because it became accustomed to people feeding it,” wrote Endicott in the statement. “Alligators are native to our area and if left alone, can coexist with people. However, we endanger them by encroaching upon their habitat and throwing food at them. Once they learn where an easy food source is, they will return, hang out and even lose their natural aversion to people. When this happens, we are often forced to trap and remove the animals.”

The post was accompanied with a photo of a woman holding pizza over the lake as if she were feeding it to the alligators. Pizza.

The majority of alligators spotted have been in the Sawmill Slough Preserve from the nature trails. The preserve was designated in 2006 as a means to maintain a natural environment for water drainage through the campus to protect the plants and animals living there. Alligators are among these animals.

On campus, however, gators are few and far between, despite the warning signs. Endicott says that signs are merely precautionary and that there are no gators in the lakes at this time.

If you do happen to see an alligator on campus, keep your distance, and don’t feed it any Sbarro.

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