You may have heard some general guidelines for being around wildlife in Florida. For example, a tour guide may have reminded you to keep a safe distance from animals for your safety and theirs. However, not all these guidelines are punishable by law. Here are a few wildlife laws that you’ll always want to be aware of when traveling in Florida:

Don’t Touch the Gators

While not getting close to an alligator is just common sense, touching an alligator is an actual offense. According to Florida’s wildlife laws, you can’t attempt to capture, possess, hurt, or kill an alligator or its eggs. That means even if you find an unattended baby alligator egg or nest — hands off! Trying to take one as a souvenir would be against the law.

Give the Manatees Space

If you see a manatee in the water, you may want to approach for a closer look— but hold up! Even if you don’t mean to annoy or harass a manatee, doing so negligently (or on accident) is still a violation of Florida’s wildlife laws. That’s because the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978 states: “It is unlawful for any person, at any time, intentionally or negligently, to annoy, molest, harass, or disturb any manatee.” Breaking this Florida law can result in imprisonment of up to 60 days!

Don’t Feed the Fish

Thinking of throwing that sandwich crust off the boat for the fish? Think again! It’s illegal to drop food or garbage into the water to entice any sort of wildlife, including fish. Breaking this rule could cost you $100 plus a court appearance, according to Florida’s wildlife laws.

Ensure You Follow the Law: Go With a Guide

The best way to ensure you follow all of Florida’s wildlife laws is to experience wildlife with a professional guide! At Babcock Ranch Eco-Tours, you’ll be able to get up close and personal with a variety of different species, while still staying well within the law. Additionally, you’ll learn other tips and tricks to safely view wildlife on your tour and explore the exciting habitats of all your favorite Florida wildlife.

To learn more about Babcock Ranch’s Eco-Tours and the wildlife you’ll see on your journey, visit the Eco-Tour website here.