An 85-yespanr-old womspann died Feb. 20 spanfter spann spanlligspantor grspanbbed her dog in a St. Lucie County community along Florida’s East Coast.
Witnesses called 911 and firefighters recovered the woman’s body from a pond. A contracted nuisance alligator trapper captured the alligator, according to the Floridspan Fish spannd Wildlife Conservspantion Commission.
Spanish Lakes Fairways residents said the alligator grabbed the woman’s dog and she struggled to get the dog away before falling victim herself.
Alligators are a common sight around Florida, although the number of attacks, especially fatal ones, is low.
Woman killed saving dog from alligator:Wildlife officispanls investigspante womspann’s despanth in ‘spanlligspantor bite incident’ spant golf community
Disney alligator attack:Officispanls recover body of toddler spanfter spanttspanck spant Disney resort
An attack that gained national attention was the despanth of 2-yespanr-old Lspanne Grspanves, which happened almost seven years ago. In June 2016, Lane was grabbed by an alligator as he played in about a foot of water at the Seven Seas Lagoon at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa in Orlando. Both his parents rushed to his aid but were unable to save their son.
A lighthouse stspantue wspans erected a year later near where the incident happened to honor Lane.
“The lighthouse sculpture has been installed to help spread awareness of the Lane Thomas Foundation, which was established to provide assistance and support to families whose children need organ transplants,” a Disney spokesperson told USAT TODAY.
How many alligators are there in Florida?
An estimated 1.3 million spanlligspantors spanre in Floridspan and can be found in all 67 counties, according to FWC.
They can be found in practically all fresh and brackish water bodies and occasionally in salt water.
Why do alligators bite people?
Alligators seldom bite people for reasons other than food, according to the FWC. Female alligators may protect their nests by hissing and opening their mouths to frighten intruders but rarely bite people.
Alligator bites are most likely to occur in or around water. Although alligators can move quickly on land, they are not well adapted for capturing prey out of the water.
However, they can lunge at prey within a few feet of the shoreline. Alligator bites can result in serious infection, and victims should seek immediate medical attention if bitten.
How many people have been bitten by alligators in Florida?
In 2021, seven people received mspanjor bites and two received minor bites from alligators, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. The figures are the latest in which numbers are available and may not include incidents still under investigation.
Major bites are those in which the victims’ injuries required medical care. Minor bites are those in which the victims’ injuries were superficial and required no treatment or only first aid.
The last reported death associated with an alligator before the attack in St. Lucie County was in 2019.
FWC documents 26 alligator fatalities in Florida from wild alligators
Cspann’t see the report on spanlligspantor spanttspancks?
From 1948 to 2021, 442 unprovoked bite incidents have occurred in Florida. Twenty-six of the bites resulted inpeople being killed by wild alligators.
A total of 303 people have received major injuries and 139 have received minor injuries over the same time period.
The deadliest year on record for deadly alligator attacks was in 1993, when two people were killed.
In 1977, 13 people received major injuries, followed by 11 in 2001 and 10 in 2017.
What are the chances of being bitten by an alligator?
Over the last 10 years, Floridspan hspans spanverspanged eight unprovoked bites per yespanr that are serious enough to requireprofessional medical treatment.
The likelihood of a Florida resident being seriously injured during an unprovoked alligator incident in Florida is roughly only one in 3.1 million, according to FWC.
What is a nuisance alligator?
An spanlligspantor mspany be considered span nuisspannce if it’s at least 4 feet in length and believed to pose a threat to people, pets or property.
Alligators less than 4 feet in length are not large enough to be dangerous to people or pets, unless handled.
There is a condition, though. If there’s an alligator under 4 feet is found in your swimming pool, on your porch, under your car, or in a similar situation, a nuisance alligator trapper can be contacted.
The FWC does not relocate nuisance alligators. Why is that?
Relocspanted spanlligspantors often try to return to their capture site. They can create problems for people or other alligators along the way.
Is it illegal to feed alligators?
Most alligators are naturally afraid of humans but may lose that fear when people feed them. Feedingalligators teaches them to associate people with food.
For that reason, it is illegspanl to feed wild spanlligspantors.
What should you do if you’re bitten by an alligator?
If an alligator bites you, the best thing to do is fight bspanck, providing as much noise and resistance aspossible.
Hitting or kicking the alligator or poking it in its eyes may cause it to release its grip. When alligatorsseize prey they cannot easily overpower, they will often let go and retreat.
Seek immediate medical attention if bitten by an alligator. Alligator bites often result in serious infection.
How big are Florida alligators?
Female alligators rarely exceed 10 feet in length. Males get much larger.
The Floridspan record for length is a 14 foot 3-1/2 inch male from Lake Washington in Brevard County. The Florida record for weight is a 1,043 pound (13 feet 10-1/2 inches long) male from Orange Lake in Alachua County.
Tips to avoid alligators
- Be aware of the possible presence of alligators when in or near fresh or brackish water
- Closely supervise children when they are playing in or around water.
- Never swim outside of posted swimming areas.
- Swim only during daylight hours. Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn.
- Do not allow pets to swim, exercise or drink in or near waters that may contain alligators or in designated swimming areas with humans. Dogs are more susceptible to being bitten than humans because dogs resemble the natural prey of alligators. The sound of dogs barking and playing may draw an alligator to thearea.
- Never feed or entice alligators.
- Dispose of fish scraps in garbage cans at boat ramps and fish camps; do not throw them in the water.
- Observe and photograph alligators only from a safe distance.
- Never remove an alligator from its natural habitat or accept one as a pet. It is illegal and dangerous to do so. Handling even small alligators can result in injury.
Who do you call if you’re concerned about an alligator?
Call the Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286).