12-foot-long gator at Lake Brantley causes beach to shut down

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LAKE BRANTLEY, Fla. - A large alligator was spotted near the Sweetwater Oaks Beach on Lake Brantley, causing the beach to shut down Monday.

A neighbor snapped a photo of the gator on Sunday, showing it to be about 12 feet in length, officials said.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said it will set bait and try to trap the gator.

"I've never seen one this big in Lake Brantley," said resident Carlos Soler.

"From what I've been hearing, everyone's amazed because I've heard 40 years people have lived here and never heard of a gator like that in this water," said maintenance worker Chett Pritt. "Our concern is safety here."

The Sweetwater Oaks Homeowner's Association has taped off the beach and is telling swimmers to stay out of the water until the gator is captured.

"Until we know exactly if the gator is still here, if it moved out of here, we can't have residents in the water only because of the major safety concern," said Pritt.

The gator hasn't been spotted since the resident took the picture Sunday morning, but the Homeowner's Association isn’t taking any chances.

"Whatever they need to do and the quicker this can get done, the quicker we can get back to normalcy for our beach," said Pritt.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission said it's already hired a trapper.

"They'll let us know via phone or contact us and let us know what their next step will be," said Pritt.

FWC said a trap should be set by Monday evening, but it could take days or even weeks before the gator is caught.