Authorities in Florida are searching for two men who dumped an injured alligator in a local Wawa supermarket in Lakewood Ranch. Someone notified the local police around 2:30 a.m. last Friday, according to Manatee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dave Bristow, reports ABC Action News. The alligator, measuring about three feet in length, was left behind by two people.
“It wasn’t that big, but inside of a store, anything like that is too big,” customer Fred Stange said. While alligators can scare humans, they aren’t usually looking to make a meal of one. It would be too much work and, according to Everglades Holiday Park, they’re more likely to eat the food that is easiest to acquire, since they are inherently lazy.
The Fish and Wildlife Commission was called in to help, and they sent a trapper to remove the gator. ABC spoke with Justin Matthews, who is a Manatee County wildlife expert.
“This is mating season for them, the best thing to do is just leave them alone,” he said.
It’s unknown whether this particular alligator was being kept as a pet by the two Florida men, but not knowing what to do with it after it was injured, they decided to dump it, or if they were the ones who injured it and they simply didn’t know what else to do.
This comes on the heels of an alligator attack in a neighborhood near Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, that left one of their residents dead. On June 8,the Inquisitr reported that a woman who had been reported missing was believed to have been killed when she was dragged into a lake by an alligator. An arm was discovered inside an alligator after authorities cut it open, and later it was confirmed to be that of Shizuka Matsuki, 47, who was last seen walking her dogs near the lake. Witnesses had seen the woman with her dogs near the lake’s edge and then later saw one of her dogs barking along the lake’s edge, with a gash that looked consistent with an alligator bite.
“Authorities warn that gators are ‘opportunistic feeders,’ meaning that they will generally snap onto anything that gets near them. Further, they’re most active during mating season, which is May and June. However, alligator-on-human fatalities are actually exceedingly rare,” as reported previously by Inquisitr.
As for the incident at the Wawa, if you know anything about how this alligator ended up there, you can call FWC’s Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-3922.