Captured alligator now roams free in a Labelle preserve

Published: May 26, 2019 2:02 PM EDT
Updated: May 27, 2019 6:56 AM EDT

Dodging fierce attacks with moves like a matador, Ray Simonsen releases a huge reptile into a special alligator preserve in Labelle on Sunday.

Ray Simonsen, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission trapper, released the 10-foot, 6-inch alligator found in Immokalee to a Labelle alligator preserve this week. It took some bold maneuvering to free the scaly animal from its restraints.


Collier County deputies were called to Immokalee Road and Randall Boulevard Wednesday morning in response to the alligator. Simonsen took about an hour to clear the reptile from the roadway.

CCSO said the encounter was not unusual. During alligator mating season, it is a common sight to see these animals. Their mating season concludes at the end of June.

“It’s a happy ending for this big boy, who will get to live out his days at the preserve,” Collier County Sheriff’s Office published in a social media post. “We’re just glad we weren’t the ones trying to coax him into the water.”