The retirement community where an 85-year-old woman was killed by an alligator this week is now taking steps to remove all of the remaining alligators living in its ponds to prevent future attacks.
Gloria Serge was walking her small dog around midday on Monday at a community retention pond at the Spanish Lakes Fairways when the incident occurred.
The 10-foot alligator, which local media said weighed up to 700 pounds, surged out of the water and tried to grab her dog. Serge tried to fight off the alligator but was knocked over. The animal then grabbed her foot and dragged her into the water.
Video was released that showed the moment that the incident occurred. The video does not show the alligator killing the woman.
TMZ reported Friday that residents at the community told the publication that the state officials were in her backyard on Thursday and told her that they were removing the remaining alligators in the community’s several ponds.
Robert Lilly, a specialist who traps alligators in the state, said that it was difficult for officials to recover the woman’s body and remove the animal from the pond.
“It was definitely a fight. [We] snagged him on the bottom. He never surfaced,” Lilly said. “He stayed down the whole time. We were able to get a second hook in him and a hard line in him so we could get him up.”
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said that while alligators are still on the federal endangered species list, they can still easily be found all over the state.
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“Alligators occur in all 67 counties in Florida and can be found in practically all fresh and brackish water bodies and occasionally in salt water,” the state agency said. “Although exact population figures are not known, Florida has a healthy and stable population of about 1.3 million alligators of every size. This population estimate is based on an estimated 6.7 million acres of suitable habitat.”
It is illegal to feed alligators because doing so teaches them to associate food with humans and thus causes them to lose their fear of people. Despite their numbers in the state, attacks on people remain relatively rare as they prefer to only attack prey that they can easily overpower.
Fully-grown American alligators can be up to 15 feet long and weigh up to 1,000 pounds.
There have been fewer than 450 recorded alligator attacks in Florida since 1948, with a couple dozen resulting in death.
American alligators, while dangerous, pose less risk to humans than large crocodiles like the Nile crocodile in Africa and the saltwater crocodile found in Asia and Australia.
Saltwater crocodiles are the largest crocodile species in the world, with full-grown males being able to grow up to 28 feet and weighing roughly 2,500 pounds. They are responsible for killing 1,000 people per year.