Hiker narrowly avoids massive Collier County alligator

Colleen Gill was walking along a trail at the Collier-Seminole State Park on Sunday with her dog when she had to stop and turn around because a massive gator was hogging her path.

Gill told WINK News the large gator “hissed a little bit,” and that is when she decided to turn around. She knows there is much wildlife at the park, but it is not every day a gator that big blocks her path.

“Never have I seen a gator in the trail,” Gill said. “It had to be over 12 ft long. It’s width of its tail was wider than the trail itself.”

After Gill took a double-take, she did not panic. She follows the 60-foot rule, which is the distance she should stay away from the reptiles. Gill went back the way she came. She said she did not feel safe walking around the animal because “it was such a big gator.”

Remember, it is helpful always to be familiar with what wildlife you may come in contact with when hiking anywhere. You never know what you may find when walking along trails, including panthers and bears, which have been spotted in the state park. Gill said she comes to these trails a lot, crediting that experience for what to do during the incident.

“They don’t want to eat us,” Gill said. “They don’t want to hurt us.”

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Michael Mora
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