10-foot alligator wrangled on Venice beach
VENICE (FOX 13) - The call came in just like any other, but it quickly caught everyone's attention.
"It was one of a kind," he said.
On the other end of the line, the caller told Lieutenant Gregory Rose with the Sarasota County Beach Patrol that an alligator was swimming along the South Jetty in Venice.
"I have been there 20 years out here and was the first time I was ever involved with," said Rose.
The lieutenant got on a water scooter and went to confirm the sighting.
"It was just kind of doing its own thing there. Wasn't aggressive or anything," he said.
What concerned him was how close the gator was to people in the water.
"They are pretty stealthy. You won't hear them and unless you are looking you won't know they are there," he continued.
While it seemed unusual for the gator to end up in saltwater, Rose said they have had a few similar calls in the past.
"There is the Venice Inlet there and a lot of the attributers run off there from the cow pen slew. The Mayakka River that water all drains out in the Venice inlet so there can be gators out there," he said.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation was called out and a trapper came out.
"He hooked it with a fishing pole and a treble hook and it pulled him out to sea," said Rose.
Rose stepped in and threw the trapper on the back of his watercraft. The gator didn't come easy.
It took the trapper about three hours and several tries before he could get it out of the water and on the shore.
"We only had about 8 feet standoff distance at that point. The gator rolled a few times, came up, and took a bite out of the sled," said Rose.
Finally, the pair was able to drag the gator to shore, once on land it measured out to more than 10 feet long.
"I was just glad my foot wasn't involved," added Rose.
The FWC said the gator was put down. Wildlife officials said sometimes it is more difficult to release the gator once they have been roaming freely in the area.