• Gators gone wild! 2018 was their year

    By: Kelly Healey

    Updated:

    FLORIDA - It's well-known that if you live in Florida, you are most likely to encounter an alligator, or at least read a story involving one.  

    2018 has flown by, and throughout the year, gators have popped up in backyards, schools and even convenience stores across the state. 

    🐊 Take a look at some of the wildest and most interesting stories that have frightened and fascinated Floridians this year:

    - Talk about stopping traffic! A 7-foot alligator slowed down traffic on a Florida interstate in April. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said they responded to a call about a wandering alligator on the northbound side of I-295. Read full article here. 

    Dash cam video shows officers capturing the 7-foot-long gator:

    - Backyard gator! Imagine waking up and seeing an 11-foot gator chilling in a pond behind your house. One Orange County family did, and it was all caught on video. Read full article here.

    Watch WFTV reporter Lauren Seabrook's video below: 

    - Officers to the rescue! A 5-foot alligator was spotted in a Winter Haven neighborhood in May. A police officer lassoed the gator while another officer threw a towel over its eyes. Read full article here.

    A 5-foot alligator was spotted in the middle of a neighborhood in Winter Haven, police said.
    A 5-foot alligator was spotted in the middle of a neighborhood in Winter Haven, police said.
    Winter Haven Police Department
    A 5-foot alligator was spotted in the middle of a neighborhood in Winter Haven, police said.
    A 5-foot alligator was spotted in the middle of a neighborhood in Winter Haven, police said.
    Winter Haven Police Department

    - When all odds are against you: Mating season and a homeowner's association were preventing a woman from having a 4-foot gator removed from her backyard. She was recording her son playing with an inflatable gator, and when she finished filming, she noticed the gator hanging out in the background of the shot the entire time. Read full article here. 

    Watch video below:

    - That time a snake tried to eat a gator: Have you ever felt sorry for an alligator? One man did. In June, a man had the daring task of rescuing a small alligator from the grips of a 10-foot-long Burmese python in the Everglades. Read full article here.

    Jack Hubbard, of Lakeland, posted the rescue video: 

    Educated alligator?  A gator was calmly waiting outside the doors of Frostproof Middle-Senior High School in Polk County. One deputy quipped, "This guy just showed up for summer school. Guess gators aren’t really smart after all, huh?" Read full article here.

    A 5-foot alligator was spotted in the middle of a neighborhood in Winter Haven, police said.
    School officials help deputies catch gator found at Polk County school
    A 5-foot alligator was spotted in the middle of a neighborhood in Winter Haven, police said.
    School officials help deputies catch gator found at Polk County school

    - When gators get feisty:  A trapper and an officer in Ocoee got a more than they bargained for. The video below shows the trapper trying to restrain the gator, and as he was trying to capture it, the animal headbutted the trapper, knocking him out cold. Read full article here.

    - How did the gator cross the road? With the help of two women! A viewer said she was sitting at a red light on Colonial Drive when two women got out of their cars to help an alligator cross the road. The alligator might have wandered from nearby Lake Downey. Read Full article here.

    Catherine Kerr shot video of the not-so-typical afternoon drive:

    - Chased up a tree! In July, a teenager's mother called 911 saying her 15-year-old daughter was, “trapped in a tree by a large gator.” Only in Florida? Read full article here.

    Listen to 911 call below: 

    - “You have a what in where?” A dispatcher in Miami Gardens had to make sure the call wasn't a joke when the caller reported a baby alligator walking into a gas station! Read full article here.

    Take a look below: 

    - Gator makes beer run:  When Robby Stratton walked into a convenience store carrying an alligator, he asked, "Y’all got beer still?" Many people want to know why he decided to carry the reptile, to which he replied, "This store sells some good liquor and I drank a lot of it that night." Read full article. 

    Oh, and it was caught on video: 

    - Maybe gators just like gas stations: A delivery man was throwing out boxes behind a Daytona Beach gas station when he was surprised by an alligator. Video posted to Facebook shows an officer steering the alligator out of the garbage area and into a pond. Read full article.

    Watch video below: 

    - "There is a gator eating a man!" Thank goodness the 85-year-old man survived when a gator chomped down on his foot at the Big Cypress Golf and Country Club in Lakeland. People who witnessed the attack were horrified. Read full article.

    Watch WFTV's report below: 

    - Gator takes dip in woman's pool: “I looked out the door and I said, ‘Oh, my God, we have another alligator.’"  Wait... it''s happened before?! Read full article here.

    Watch video below: 

    Well, that wraps up 2018. See you later, alligator! 🐊


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