Lakeland, Florida, Gator Incident: Alligator Found With Human Body In Its Mouth

Tara West

Police in Lakeland, Florida, were called to a horrifying scene after it was reported a large alligator was spotted with a human body in its mouth. The alligator was found on Tuesday in Lake Hunter with the remains in its mouth before being frightened away by all of the commotion. Once the alligator left the area, it dropped the body and authorities were able to retrieve the remains from the water. Police believe the victim was an adult male but say they are not positive.

CBS News reports that Lakeland police were called to Lake Hunter on Tuesday afternoon after a patron at the lake reported an alligator with a human body in its mouth. The police say they are currently unsure of the cause of death and cannot say whether the alligator killed the victim or if the alligator was simply feeding on human remains it found in the lake.

An alligator trapper was called to the scene to capture the 8-foot-long gator but has been unsuccessful. However, Lakeland police spokesman Gary Gross says that efforts are still underway as of Tuesday evening. Though officers were able to retrieve the human remains, it was noted that the identity of the victim is unknown.

This isn't the first time that police have been called to Lake Hunter in the days leading up to the discovery of the body. In a public Facebook post made by the Lakeland Police Department, it was noted that police had been called to the lake on two other occasions leading up to the incident.


The first call came in June 4 as a caller reported finding a shirt, a pair of pants, and a backpack in the water near the Lake Hunter Boar Ramp at 650 Sikes Boulevard. The caller did not want any contact to be made at the time of placing the call but simply wanted to inform officers of the find. Additionally, the caller noted that an "aggressive alligator" had been noted at the ramp earlier in the week. Police responded to the call but were unable to locate anyone in the water and noted that no alligators were present at the time of the search. In total, six officers separately searched the lake without any indication of a person in the water. In addition to the police department, the Lakeland Fire Department was also called and performed a search across the lake which lasted one hour but found no signs of any person in the lake. Therefore, the call was closed.

The second call came in on June 5 when a citizen called in to note "something large" floating in the water of Lake Hunter with a large alligator circling it. Police responded to the scene but could not locate the alligator or the "large object" seen floating in the water by the boater. It is not clear at this time if the two previous calls may relate to the recent discover of a human body in the Lakeland alligator's mouth. However, it was noted that the body appeared to have been in the water for more than one day due to the amount of decomposition present.


Lakeland police say they are still investigating the issue and attempting to identify the male found in the alligator's mouth. Oddly, this is not the first body found in an alligator's mouth this week. Just last week, police were called to a south Florida canal after a body was discovered in the water being chewed on by two alligators. The body in that case was so far gone that police say they cannot determine race, gender, or any distinguishing factors about the identity of the victim at this time.

"What happened to them? How did they end up here? Could it be a homicide, could it be a suicide, could it be natural, a fisherman? We don't know. That's what the next step is to figure that out."

[Image via Shutterstock]