This gator ended a day full of fishing quickly.
Everyone knows you must be alligator aware while doing anything in the outdoors down in Florida. The big reptiles are one of America's great conservation success stories, going from endangered years ago to almost over-populated now. It is not uncommon for one of these dinosaurs to cross paths with the many anglers who enjoy Florida's waters.
However, not many encounters are quite as frightening as this one caught on a GoPro camera by a 22-year-old tarpon angler. In a video that has quickly gone viral, Tommy Lee was fishing near the end of a long day when a gator pops up in the water near him.
Surprisingly, the big animal shows no fear of the human on the bank and starts swimming swiftly towards the angler. The alligator even comes out of the water and pursues the angler partially down a trail!
We see a ton of alligator videos here at Wide Open Spaces. This one was a little more frightening than most because we rarely one of these animals acting so aggressively towards humans. Usually, they are just trying to steal the angler's catch. We cannot blame Lee for cutting his evening of fishing short after something like that! In the video's description, he estimated the alligator to be approximately 11 feet in length.
"The gator appeared much larger and closer in person," Lee wrote. "It got within 10 ft of me. I ran backward and fell as he chased me. Then I confronted him and he chased me again before retreating back to the water. Then I retreated back to my truck."
It is impossible to know more without better context on the area, but we are wondering if Lee wandered too close to a nest of eggs or baby gators. It seems a likely scenario this was a mother gator trying to get an intruder to back off the nest rather than trying to catch and eat the angler. Either way, a frightening encounter and one we are glad he caught on camera. Thanks for sharing it with the world Lee!