Man, 85, Attacked by Alligator at Florida Retirement Community: Officials

Video Shows Florida Disc Golfer Attacked by Alligator in Pond
By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in New York. He covers breaking news.
December 3, 2018Updated: December 3, 2018

An 85-year-old man was reportedly attacked by an alligator at a retirement community in Lakeland, Florida on Dec. 3.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said the man was bitten by the alligator on his foot at the Big Cypress Golf and Country Club. The club features a pond, WFTV reported.

The country club is located within the Cypress Lakes 55+ Community. Cypress Lakes is located about 40 miles east of Tampa.

The man, who was not identified, was taken to a hospital. There is no word on the severity of the man’s injury.

Wildlife officials, trappers, and sheriff’s deputies were searching for the animal, the report said. They found the animal and took it to the edge of the pond.

“This incident is currently being investigated,” Rob Klepper of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told “At this time, we have no further details.”

Cypress Lakes is described as a 55 and older retirement community “designed for retirees in search of fun, active lifestyles in a securely gated neighborhood nestled among beautiful natural surroundings,” its website says.

A man was hospitalized after being bitten by an alligator at a 55+ community in Lakeland.

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎WFTV Channel 9‎‏ في الإثنين، ٣ ديسمبر ٢٠١٨

Prior Incidents

Fatal alligator attacks are rare, but a Florida woman, Shizuka Matsuki, died after she was attacked by a 12-foot-long alligator in Plantation. She was walking her dogs before the incident.

“Her dogs won’t leave the pond,” Davie Police Maj. Dale Engle said in June 2018 when the woman died. “One of her dogs got bit by the gator.”

“Any body of water in Florida, you’ve got to know at some point or another there’s an alligator,” said Heather Porrata, a local woman, at the time.

In August, a woman in neighboring South Carolina was killed by an alligator—also while walking her dog.

Alligator swims in Louisiana
An American alligator swims in Barataria, Louisiana on April 22, 2017. (Thomas Watkins/AFP/Getty Images)

“When they arrived, fire personnel located the deceased woman inside of the lagoon and recovered her body, while deputies interviewed witnesses. Witness accounts indicate that the woman—who will be identified after her next of kin are notified—was walking her dog near the lagoon when she was attacked and pulled underwater by the alligator,” the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office said at the time.

Local authorities said the fatal alligator attack is the first one in decades in South Carolina, ABC News reported. Other than Cline’s death, there has been only one reported death in the past 42 years. But it remains a mystery as to whether alligators caused that woman’s death.

What To Do When an Alligator Attacks?

“For one, you want to prevent such an encounter by not feeding them, not swimming in marshy waters and not swimming in any body of water after dusk, when alligators are in the hunt for food. By feeding them even bits of bread, alligators lose their natural fear of humans and associate humans with food, alligator experts say,” according to the Miami Herald.

Alligators live in freshwater environments like ponds, marshes, wetlands, rivers, lakes, and swamps, and also in brackish environments.

The Herald recommends people keep their dogs and children away from areas where alligators may reside.

If an alligator attacks, the Herald recommends running away, poking its eyes, fighting back, or punching it in the head.

“Poke at the alligator’s eyes,” said Joe Wasilewski, who is a South Florida wildlife biologist. “They will sink in to the skull. If you do that enough, you’re gonna piss them off enough to let go.”

He added that one can also “punch at the animal’s head; it’s a very vulnerable spot for the alligator.”

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