Ocala, Florida – A popular swimming area in Florida has been closed after multiple people were bitten by a 9-foot alligator in the past week.
The alligator attacked three people in separate incidents at the Alexander Springs Recreation Area near Ocala, Florida, leaving them with injuries to their heads and necks.
The first attack occurred on October 30, when a 39-year-old man was swimming in the spring and felt something bite his head.
He managed to escape and swim to the shore, where he was treated for a 3-inch laceration on his scalp.
He did not see the alligator, but park officials confirmed that it was the same one that attacked the other victims.
The second attack happened on November 2, when a 28-year-old woman was snorkeling in the spring and felt a sharp pain on her neck.
She saw the alligator and swam away, but not before it bit her again on the back of her head. She suffered a 6-inch wound on her neck and a 4-inch wound on her head. She was taken to a hospital for treatment and is expected to recover.
The third attack occurred on November 5, when a 51-year-old man was swimming in the spring and was bitten on the back of his head by the alligator.
He fought back and managed to free himself, but he sustained a 5-inch gash on his head. He was also taken to a hospital for treatment and is expected to recover.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) was notified of the attacks and sent a trapper to capture the alligator.
The trapper successfully caught the 9-foot, 200-pound alligator on November 6 and euthanized it.
The FWC said that the alligator was likely attracted to the spring by the large number of fish and manatees that congregate there during the winter months.
The Alexander Springs Recreation Area is a popular destination for visitors who want to swim and enjoy nature. The park had been shut down in the past due to alligator sightings and attacks on human.
The park officials have closed the swimming area until further notice, and have posted signs warning visitors of the potential presence of alligators.
They have also advised visitors to follow the FWC’s guidelines for coexisting with alligators, which include:
- Never feed alligators, as this can make them lose their fear of humans and associate people with food.
- Keep a safe distance from alligators, and do not swim or wade in areas where they are known to be present.
- Supervise children and pets near water, and do not let them play or swim near the edge of the water or in vegetation where alligators may be hiding.
- If you encounter an alligator, remain calm and back away slowly. Do not run or make sudden movements, as this may trigger an attack.
- If you are bitten by an alligator, seek medical attention immediately, and report the incident to the FWC.
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