There's nothing more Florida than man vs. alligator, and while we love the wild ones like someone driving around with a gator strapped to the back of their vehicle or stealing fish off a line, we also love to hear a chivalrous twist on the classic line-up.
Last Friday, a couple was walking through Riverside Park in Fort Lauderdale when a 12-foot, 6-inch alligator launched out of the water and snatched the woman's dog. With the pooch in the gator's jaws, the boyfriend sprang into action: He wrangled the alligator—double the size of a 6-foot-tall man—and was able to rescue the dog from the flesh-ripping grip of the reptile.
Don't worry, the dog is alive, though it had some serious injuries and is being treated at a local vet clinic.
Fox34 Orlando's Conner Hanson spoke with alligator trapper Jerry Flynn, who said there are many alligators in that park, which makes the attack unsurprising. Since the alligator was so large and dangerous, the Florida Wildlife Commission issued a permit to remove it. Flynn's nephew, Bill Gerard, was tasked with caring for the massive beast. Flynn said, "We knew that he was a dangerous alligator." He also pointed out that an alligator that size would have no problem taking down a person.
The FWC's website says alligators are found in every county in Florida, all 67. Typically, they are located in freshwater but can also be found in salt water. Unfortunately, alligators are not picky eaters and will go after whatever food source may be available.
As of December 2022, around 1.3 million alligators were lurking in Florida's waters. The FWC does state that human bites are rare, and alligators prefer to stay away from people. But, when people feed alligators, they lose their natural fear. If bit, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Since alligators are mating right now and are fiercely protective of their nests, this time of year is the worst time to have any dogs, cats, or other pets near bodies of water.
The FWC recommends that people stay far away from alligators, keep their pets on leashes, and only swim during daylight in designated areas. Also, if you are swimming, please don't bring Fido. An alligator may just mistake man's best friend for his next meal.