Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission responded to an alligator attack with injuries in the area of Wa-Ke Hatchee Park in south Fort Myers Monday.
According to FWC, a 60-year-old man was bitten by an alligator near the park off Summerlin Road. He had been walking along a natural pathway, where there are small bodies of water along the way.
Lee County Sheriff’s Office and Lee County EMS also responded, and the man was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital to treat serious injuries.
Larry Hone lives nearby the park and the area of the attack, where he said he sees alligators often.
“I’m disappointed, obviously, that somebody’s gotten bitten,” Hone said. “But clearly, they got too close to the alligator.”
An FWC-contracted, nuisance alligator trapper went to the scene to retrieve the gator. Once the alligator is caught, it becomes the property of the trapper. The gators are sometimes taken to live on a gator farm, or they can be harvested.
The man who was attacked found a good Samaritan along the path who called 911.
“The injuries are considered significant,” said Adam Brown, an FWC public information officer. “But from what I understand, it’s going to be his left arm and his left torso that was bitten.”
FWC says serious injuries caused by alligators are rare in Florida. Anyone who needs to call about an alligator can contact the Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286).
“In Florida gators, an incident like this would be very rare unless previously provoked, you know if an alligator has been fed and maybe shows signs of aggression or perhaps near nest or something like that, but alligators have a natural fear of humans, and they stay away,” Brown said.
The Wildlife Commission reminds the public alligators can be in any kind of water, so it’s important to be alert, keep children close, and pets on leashes. Also see FWC’s advice about Living with Alligators.
FWC continues to investigate the cause of the alligator attack. There is no further information at this time.