OCOEE, Florida – A Florida man was knocked out cold when he attempted to place an 8-foot alligator in the back of his pickup truck.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife trapper was called to the Hammocks neighborhood in Ocoee, Florida to remove the nuisance alligator last week.
Although the alligator’s mouth was taped and its legs were bound, the alligator managed to make its instinctive thrashing move which resulted in a head butt with the trapper, knocking the trapper out cold.
The gator continued with its thrashing movement and also whipped an Ocoee police officer in the the face with its tail.
Statewide, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission receives an average of nearly 16,000 alligator-related complaints per year. Most of these complaints deal with alligators occurring in places such as backyard ponds, canals, ditches and streams, but other conflicts occur when alligators wander into garages, swimming pools and golf course ponds.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission gives the following 10 tips to Floridians on how to live with alligators:
1. Never feed alligators because it is dangerous and illegal. When fed, alligators can overcome their natural wariness and learn to associate people with food. When this happens, some of these alligators have to be removed and killed.
2. Dispose of fish scraps in garbage cans at boat ramps and fish camps. Do not throw them into the water. Although you are not intentionally feeding alligators when you do this, the result can be the same.
3. Seek immediate medical attention if you are bitten by an alligator. Alligator bites can result in serious infections.
4. Observe and photograph alligators only from a distance.
5. Be aware of the possibility of alligators when you are in or near fresh or brackish water. Bites may occur when people do not pay close enough attention to their surroundings when working or recreating near water.
6. Do not swim outside of posted swimming areas or in waters that might be inhabited by large alligators.
7. Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn. So, avoid swimming at night.
8. Dogs and cats are similar in size to the natural prey of alligators. Don’t allow pets to swim, exercise or drink in or near waters that may contain alligators. Keep pets on a leash.
9. Do not swim with your dog. Dogs often attract an alligator’s interest.
10. Leave alligators alone. State law prohibits killing, harassing or possessing alligators. Handling even small alligators can result in injury.
People with concerns about an alligator should call the FWC’s toll-free Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP) Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (392-4286). SNAP uses contracted nuisance alligator trappers throughout the state to remove alligators four-feet in length or greater that are believed to pose a threat to people, pets or property.
Video and image credit: Jack Redding