Letter to the Editor: Alligators on Campus

Hunter Martin

Dear Editor,

Many like to think alligators only exist to terrorize us. Despite their menacing appearance, alligators are docile and will only attack if provoked. However, that doesn’t mean it’s okay to pet, feed, or approach them. Alligators are naturally scared of humans and this natural instinct is slowly disappearing as students continue to feed them. The alligators start to associate students with food and if an alligator approaches a student, that’s when a dangerous situation occurs with potentially a devastating outcome. 

With the 15 bodies of water and varying wildlife present on campus, it provides the opportunity for student research to be conducted. There’s a senior research project being conducted by an environmental studies student that consists of capturing, tagging, tracking, and releasing the gator to see where they go around FGCU’s campus and why.

Alligators are a keystone species. Without alligators, the ecosystem would be drastically different or cease to exist. They keep many species populations at a level of balance, and as they move, they keep bodies of water open from invading vegetation like cattails. Without this, many bodies of shallow water would cease to exist, killing all animals living within the water. Nesting mounds created by alligators even provide nesting and eating sites for herons and egrets.

If we leave these alligators alone, they will leave us alone giving us zero reasons to remove them. 

Thank you,

Hunter Martin