A giant alligator caught on video in Lakeland, Florida, over the weekend is stirring controversy. The alligator was filmed crossing the Circle B Bar Reserve in Polk County while onlookers videotaped the event and took photos. The people present as the alligator slowly strolled by just a few feet away caused many who have watched the video alarm, as well as doubts regarding the alligator’s authenticity. The size of the alligator is drawing attention as it resembles a prehistoric beast or even dinosaur.
You can watch the video as it was filmed by Kim Joiner and originally shared on the Reserve’s Facebook group in the player above. You may see the original post as shared on Facebook here.
The Circle B Bar Reserve located in Lakeland, Florida, features several hiking paths, including the Alligator Alley trail, where it isn’t uncommon to spot alligators crossing. The trail is unpaved and extends to Lake Hancock, where many alligators reside. You may watch more videos of alligators spotted at Lake Hancock below. For those familiar with Florida’s alligators, the Sunday visitor, known to locals as “Humpback,” is an unusually large alligator. According to the Polk County Environmental Lands Program, Circle B visitors are not permitted to bring pets to the reserve. It’s understandable that such a large population of alligators pose a serious threat to pets.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Lake Hancock is one of the locations where regulated alligator hunting takes place. You may see a video from the 2013 alligator hunt at Lake Hancock below. The FWC provides a resource guide to avoid being bitten by Florida alligators. It points out that small children should never be near alligators, and it is illegal in the state of Florida to feed alligators as this causes them to lose their natural fear and intimidation of people. It is unclear whether the Circle B giant alligator has been previously fed by humans and therefore was unfazed by the human onlookers.
As more photos and videos featuring the giant alligator are shared on social media, some are expressing concerns that the alligator will be hunted down, trapped, and killed. Others are questioning whether the alligator is real due to its size, the speed at which it slowly crossed the path, and the fact that onlookers were calmly poised with cameras filming the creature without any signs of fear, panic, or trepidation.
— Visit Central FL (@VisitCentralFL) January 17, 2017
— FLNaturalWonders (@FLNaturalWonder) January 17, 2017
If you read through the comments on the original Facebook post, which has garnered more than 35,000 views since its posting, you’ll see many suggesting the alligator is a robot or even a man in a suit. Many people simply can’t believe that a real alligator could grow to such an enormous size. Others simply can’t comprehend that some people would stay still, crouch down on the ground, and take photos as an enormous alligator crossed their path. WFLA featured a photo in their article covering the giant alligator news story showing one of the onlookers moving in closer to the gator to get a better photo. WFLA also pointed out the alligator was so big it nearly looked fake.
— Daryn Jones (@DarynJones) January 17, 2017
This isn’t the first time a giant alligator was spotted in Florida. In 2016, photos and videos taken by Charles Hems, who was visiting the Buffalo Creek golf course in Palmetto, Florida, of an enormous alligator went viral. Questions immediately surfaced asking whether the alligator was real or fake. Other videos have since surfaced of the same Buffalo Creek giant alligator that now goes by the name Chubbs, and even Snopes verified that the alligator is real.
— Coverage Mail (@CoverageMail) May 31, 2016
The Buffalo Creek golf course’s general manager, Ken Powell, granted Fox 13 an interview and discussed witnessing Chubbs the alligator when he first started the job and declared the alligator was real.
What do you think about the video? Do you think the giant alligator is real or fake? You can learn more about Florida alligators at the FWC.
[Featured Image by Julian Peters Photography/Shutterstock]