PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Boats go in and boats go out at the boat ramp at Nick’s Park. Saturday though, only one came out with the catch of the day few have ever seen come out of these waters… a roughly ten-foot gator.
“To get them out here I’ve never seen that. I mean, I wakeboard and do other stuff in the water and it’s just unlikely for it to be here,” says Tyler Manaras who often enjoys this area on his boat.
Saturday a different type of boat showed up.
“It was actually a little bit different seeing a gator trap in the back of the trailer docking into saltwater,” says Manaras.
Calls started coming in around 11 a.m. about an alligator chasing after people looking for scallops where the Cotee River dumps out into the Gulf.
“Wow! That was kind of weird that it would be chasing people,” says Dana Steele, a local boater.
“It’s probably a case of he wandered a little too far from home and got hungry and saw some people…a lot of people around for scallop season and decided those might make a good meal,” says Amanda Hunter with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.
Pasco deputies worked with New Port Richey police. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission sent a trapper to bring that gator in.
“All of a sudden I came out and they took out a 10 foot plus gator out of there. It was crazy,” says Ramos.
Alligators are not usually seen in saltwater although they are known to tolerate it.
“I’ve seen stingrays and sharks, I mean, just not gators. It’s a little bit different for sure,” says Manaras.
FWC says the alligator will be harvested for its meat and hide.
FWC says if you see an alligator that poses a threat to people, pets or property, you can call them at their toll-free nuisance alligator hotline at 866-FWC-Gator or 866-392-4286.