Florida Park Closes After ‘Aggressive Alligator’ Shows Up on Boardwalk With Bird in Its Jaws

by Chris Haney

On Sunday, police in Florida temporarily shut down a local park because of an “aggressive alligator” that was found in the area. Multiple visitors called the authorities after taking pictures of an estimated 10-foot alligator with a bird in its jaws on the boardwalk.

The animal and its prey were first reported around 9 a.m. Sunday morning by visitors to the Palm Island Boardwalk park near Orlando. The Mount Dora Police Department responded after they “received a call from a visitor alerting them to an aggressive alligator walking the boardwalk.” 

After officers arrived at the scene and spotted the gator, they “immediately closed the park down to ensure public safety.” The department posted a warning about the aggressive reptile and shared that the park would be temporarily shut down.

“Palm Island Closure! Due to an aggressive Alligator, Palm Island has been temporarily closed. We will provide updates once it is reopened,” Mount Dora PD’s Facebook account warned locals on Sunday.

Supposedly, the 10-foot alligator was seen in multiple locations in the park before police closed down the area. The animal and its meal were seen on the park trail, in a gazebo, and on the boardwalk with its prey. Officials kept the park closed all of Sunday before reopening Monday morning after authorities confirmed that the gator left the area.

Alligator encounters are commonplace in Florida. Therefore the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission has certain recommendations for locals and visitors alike. The agency suggests to “keep pets on a leash and a safe distance away from the water’s edge.” It also adds that you should “swim only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours and never allow your pet to swim in fresh or brackish water.”

Alligator Eats 40-Pound Dog ‘Like It Was Nothing’

Speaking of watching out for your pets in Florida, one man found that out the hard way a few weeks ago. The incident occurred in the state capital of Tallahassee during a routine lunch break.

Local Joshua Wells regularly took his 40-pound black lab to the park on lunch breaks for a quick walk. While at J.R. Alford Greenway Trail, per their usual routine in mid-June, things took a turn for the worst.

At one point during their walk, the lab was sniffing near the water’s edge. A split second later a 9-foot alligator chomped down on the dog and dragged it into the water. Wells shared that the gator bit down on the dog’s head so quickly that it didn’t even bark.

“Boom, the water just sort of exploded,” Wells told the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, according to FOX. “He never barked. He never saw it. It took him down like it was nothing.”

Wells attempted to rescue his dog, but to no avail. He told the agency that the gator’s size made him worry for his own life. Unfortunately, Wells was helpless in the matter as the alligator killed his beloved pet.

“He said he soon realized that was not a good idea and let the alligator go,” the FWC report said.

Following the encounter, wildlife officials tracked down the gator in question after Wells reported the incident. A trapper found the dog’s remains after tracking down the alligator, which officially measured 9 feet, 2-inches in size.