Living with alligators
Living in Florida, we’ve all come to accept that we have to share our space with critters.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission even has a tips page on how to deal called Living With Alligators and Crocodiles — emphasis on the “living with” part.
But that doesn’t mean we aren’t bemused by our encounters with the reptiles.
Sometimes we’re even touched — or startled — by the heroic lengths one will go to to save an unwary pet from the jaws of these beasts.
Gator grabs dog, man grabs gator
On Thursday, a Sarasota County man jumped into a canal behind his house in Nokomis to rescue his chocolate lab after a gator got hold of the dog. Florida Fish and Wildlife officials told WWSB ABC7.
Soon as the unidentified man hit the water he “pried open the gator’s jaws” to rescue his beloved pet from the critter, said to be between six- to eight-feet long.
Lt. Rob Gerkin with the FWC told WWSB the homeowner and the dog both had minor injuries. “Both will be fine,” he said on a broadcast. “There’s a happy ending to this one. They don’t always happen that way.”
Gerkin told the station contracted trappers would be sent out to capture the gator after other neighbors also reported seeing the alligator near homes.
Florida gator encounters
This Sarasota community isn’t unique in this respect.
Sometimes, the gators simply cross our roads to get to the other side — which usually has a body of water because that’s what they like and that’s what your home and roads are surrounded by — water.
That was the case Friday when Parkland resident Ray Walker posted a video to his Twitter page of a gator, and a flock of impatient vultures, crossing the street with a big kill, of something, in its snout.
Gators don’t respect the law — the law that says you don’t attack a police dog. But that happened in Palmetto in 2018. A retired police dog was bitten by an alligator in the pond behind the homeowner’s residence in Manatee County.
That dog, like the one Thursday in Sarasota County, was lucky. He cavorted in the yard alongside his owner who told his story.
Other times, the gators wind up in the family pool.
This happened in February when a Boca Raton family woke up to find an eight-foot-long alligator in their pool. Homeowner Matt Fino had let his dog into the backyard when he was startled to find the gator in his pool, WSVN reported.
The Boca Raton Police Department and officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission helped remove the visitor.
Gators like to sun themselves on Florida beaches, too, because even they get the messages the state’s convention and visitors’ bureaus put out: we have good beaches.
A charter boat captain saw one on the Gulf of Mexico off Big Hickory Preserve near Bonita Springs in June 2018.
Wasting away again in Margaritaville
And then there was that six-foot crocodile that took a dip in the ocean and then sunned itself on a beach in Hollywood — right near Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville hotel in November 2017.
Maybe it’s time for the Florida troubadour to update his 1979 “Fins” song with a change in creature.