Enormous Alligator Filmed Blocking Florida Highway for Hours
A major highway in the Florida Keys was backed up for over an hour on Monday evening after a 10-foot alligator decided to stroll across the busy road.
Officers from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office quickly secured the area while trappers from Pesky Critters Wildlife Control battled with the enormous reptile.
"You never know what you'll get on a call in the Florida Keys," the Monroe County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post about the incident. "Never a dull moment."
The incident took place on the 18 mile stretch between the Keys and mainland Florida. "Once [people are] on 'the stretch' there are very few emergency turn arounds, so they were stuck while we battled this gator," a spokesperson for Pesky Critters told Newsweek. "There is only one other route off of the Keys [and] a lot of tourists wouldn't know about the alternate route."
According to Todd Hardwick—an experienced alligator wrangler and owner of Pesky Critters—the alligator would have had to climb over several barriers to get onto the road, pushing through the chain-link fence on the east side of the road and climbing over the concrete barrier that separates the flow of traffic.
Florida is home to over 1.3 million alligators, which are mostly found in the state's swamps, marshes, rivers and wetlands, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. However, at this time of year, during alligator mating season, they often find their way into residential areas looking for food and a mate.
"Alligators are extremely active right now and residents need to be aware and alert," Pesky Critters said.
The average size for an American alligator, as estimated by the Smithsonian's National Zoo, is 8.2 feet for the females and 11.2 feet for the males. However, any gator over 4 feet can pose a threat to people, pets and property.
Hardwick said that the 10-foot alligator in question put up a fight when he and his team came to remove it. "After a lengthy battle with this massive gator, trappers successfully removed it and traffic was able to flow again," Pesky Critters said.
Footage from the incident, shared to Pesky Critters's Facebook page, shows the animal aggressively snapping at the trappers, rolling around and dragging against their ropes.
The video has been viewed over 900 times, receiving several shocked comments from its viewers.
"Holy Toledo Bat Man! Pesky Critters to the rescue. Good job fella's," said one.
"I can't believe I missed this," said another.
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