Large alligator found roaming around Pinellas Park Publix grocery store
An alligator perhaps hungry for a classic "Pub Sub" found itself re-rerouted recently when he was picked up by a pair of Florida officers.
The Pinellas Park Police Department said someone called 911 on Thursday evening to report a large alligator near 49th Street and Park Blvd. near the Publix grocery store, according to Lt. Roxanne Pohl. She said the alligator was initially seen walking along the sidewalk and "at the time, follow[ed] all traffic laws."
At some point, the alligator made it to the parking lot.
Photo credit: Pinellas Park Police Department
"We can only speculate that he was on his way to pick up a PubSub," the police department said in a Facebook post. Someone with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission responded and helped catch the alligator, which was relocated to a nearby body of water.
No one or the alligator were hurt, the department said.
Alligators are no stranger to Florida. In fact, millions are located through the state in ponds, rivers, swamps, marshes, and lakes. While bites are considered to be rare, they do happen each year and can sometimes be deadly.
The FWC recommends the following tips to coexist with alligators: never feed one, keep pets away from the edge of lakes, ponds, and streams; keep your distance, and only swim in designated areas.
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Statewide Nuisance Alligator Hotline
The state of Florida has a Florida Nuisance Alligator Hotline where people can report nuisance alligators – and have a licensed trapper come out to remove the reptile. The Florida Nuisance Alligator Hotline number is 866-FWC Gator, or 866-392-4286.
According to the FWC's website, "an alligator is deemed a nuisance if it is at least 4 feet in length and the caller believes it poses a threat to people, pets or property." This also includes alligators that end up in places you do not want them to be, such as in swimming pools, garages, or on the front porch.
However, alligators that are smaller than four feet are not considered to be a nuisance alligator because they are "not large enough to be dangerous to people or pets," the FWC said.
Alligators are not relocated once captured; they are euthanized. The FWC said removing nuisance alligators does not have a significant impact on the overall gator population in Florida, and alligators would have to be relocated to remote areas where other alligators may live and have already determined their social structures.