BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - A sanctuary in Brevard County is again warning visitors not to feed the wildlife, including alligators and turtles, with a stern warning: it can be a death sentence for the animal or reptile.
The signs are everywhere. "Do not feed or disturb alligators," reads one sign. "A fed animal is a dead animal," reads another.
It's a growing problem, which forced the sanctuary to post a warning on its Facebook page.
The reason? By feeding the wildlife, it teaches the wildlife to depend on people for food, changes their natural behavior, and encouraged them to interact with humans, which can be dangerous for humans.
"They were feeding the turtles. The alligators kind of decided that was cool and it was literally sitting there almost begging at the canoe deck, it just had its little head sticking up over the water," said Park Ranger Assistant Lisa Bassett.
Once an animal becomes a threat to visitors, park employees must euthanize them.
To avoid that, park rangers want to spread the word to visitors, especially during their busier seasons. Some people are starting to pay attention, she said.
"They are wild animals and not only are you teaching them habits, most of the time it is not even good stuff that they are eating," she said.