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Palm Coast Wednesday, Jun. 22, 2016 2 years ago

City may add alligator warning signs

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The city would place the signs in areas where people would be near the water, like kayak launches.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

After an alligator killed a 2-year-old boy at Walt Disney World in Orlando, the theme park is putting up alligator warning signs — and the city of Palm Coast might, too.

A concerned resident called City Councilwoman Heidi Shipley and suggested the signage, Shipley told council members at a council meeting June 21.

“Obviously we can’t put signs in every swale and every body of water we have, but we did come up with something that sounds like it will work, just to to let people know who aren’t from Florida, people who are visiting, to let them know that there’s alligators here,” Shipley said.

City Manager Jim Landon said city staff is designing informative warning signs that can be placed in areas where people might be drawn near the water — near kayak and canoe launches, for instance — to warn visitors about alligators and other dangerous wildlife.

It doesn't take much water to hide a big gator. (Photo by Jonathan Simmons)

“Most people who move here or are visiting here don’t have alligators in their backyard. We literally have people that have alligators in their backyard,” he said. “The rule of thumb in Florida, including Palm Coast: If there’s a body of water, of any size, it’s got a gator in it. … Recently, we saw the gator that decided to walk across the street and use the crosswalk. You see them on our golf courses. … The critter experts tell me that we probably have over 1,000 alligators within Palm Coast that live amongst us.”

There are also other dangerous animals the signs could mention, he said, such as venomous  cottonmouth water moccasins

Young cottonmouth water moccasins have patterned rust-colored and brown markings (left), while older ones may look solid dark brown or black, with patterns only visible on their heads (right). (Photos by Jonathan Simmons)

Flagler County is also home to three other venomous snake speciesdiamondback rattlesnakes, pygmy rattlesnakes and coral snakes — as well as other potentially dangerous animals including wild boarblack bear; animals which aren't usually dangerous but might carry diseases such as rabies; dangerous marine animals like sharks and jellyfish; and biting and stinging insects.

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