If there’s one thing that will spoil a Florida beach’s reputation with tourists, it’s alligators in the surf. So no one can blame the City of Delray Beach for getting uneasy when a gator estimated at 10 to 12 feet swam ashore Wednesday, Oct. 12, and decided to stay. It was immediately dubbed “a nuisance,” which means the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was cleared to send a trapper to catch and remove the reptile.
Images of the resulting battle show the alligator was pulled out of the ocean by its tail, then three men wrestled it into submission with ropes and duct tape (around its jaws). City officials say police, the fire department and lifeguards also responded.
Delray Beach, about 50 miles north of Miami, is listed among “The 14 Best Beaches in Florida,” with Travel + Leisure magazine calling it a perfect place for “people watching.” The alligator did just that, with WPTV reporting it “casually meandered about” before trappers arrived.
“It was crazy. … I saw a bunch of commotion and I thought it would be a little shark or something,” witness T.J. Tamaccio told the station.
“I ran up closer and it was a 10-foot gator just chilling on the beach. … That’s a popular spot, too. … People are swimming there all the time and stuff, so good thing no one got hurt.” Florida Fish and Wildlife says the alligator “was transferred to a farm alive.” “Alligators can swim in and tolerate saltwater for short period of time, but it is not their preferred habitat,” FWC officials said in a news release.
“While the American alligator prefers freshwater lakes and slow-moving rivers and their associated wetlands, they are seen in brackish water habitats occasionally.” Florida’s State Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP) uses contracted trappers to catch and remove gators “believed to pose a threat to people, pets or property.” The Nuisance Alligator Hotline is 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286).
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