A Florida man recently encountered a giant gator taking a leisurely stroll along a pedestrian trail. And he wants others to understand that they shouldn’t be concerned if they find themselves in the same situation.
As Eamonn Molloy explained to Fox News 35, he came upon the reptile while hiking along the Circle B Preserve in Lakeland on Sept 5. As soon as he spotted it, he pulled out his cell phone and captured a video.
In the footage, the massive creature saunters along. And it pays no regard to Molloy, who seems to have gotten scarily close.
But as he explained to the publication via Facebook, he’s never worried when he sees a gator in the wild.
“They are not as aggressive as people think,” he said.
Florida Officials Warn of More Gator Encounters Following Hurricane Ian
Alligators live in waterways throughout the entire state of Florida. So residents can’t be overly fearful of the creatures. However, they should take reasonable precautions when encountering them, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. While attacks are rare, they still happen. In 2022 alone, four people have been killed by alligators.
And after Hurricane Ian left the state covered in flood waters, officials are warning that people may be seeing more of the creepy reptiles wandering in residential areas. So they should take extra precautions.
“Wildlife may become more visible during and after a storm,” the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office wrote on Twitter. “Please be aware of an extra gator in your pond, snake in your shed, or deer in your pasture.”
South Carolina is also dealing with an uptick of alligator reports as more people move to the Lowcountry region and struggle to co-habitat with the animal, and the state’s DNR recently issued advice on how to safely live with them.
As always, everyone should keep a safe distance when they spot gators in the wild, and they should keep pets away from waterways. But more importantly, people should refrain from feeding the animals because it teaches them to associate humans with food.
“Feeding can occur either directly or indirectly by feeding turtles, fish, birds, or other animals, or by cleaning fish and/or disposing of the guts in the water. Feeding alligators is illegal and creates a potentially dangerous situation,” the DNR wrote. “If alligators are fed or lose their appropriate fear of people, SCDNR has a statewide nuisance alligator removal program that the public can call any time. Alligators that are exhibiting regular nuisance behavior are removed.”