TAVARES, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A Tavares man is recovering after being bitten by a 7-and-a-half-foot alligator Wednesday. It happened just before 5 p.m. on Lynn Circle.
Bill Bechard, who was doing yard work behind his Tavares home, said the gator came out of nowhere and clamped down on his arm. "I never even seen the alligator until I got up and fell down and he was under my dock and he splashed," Bechard said.
Florida Fish and Wildlife officers trapped the gator they say was more than seven feet long and euthanized it soon after. Bechard is now recovering at home from his puncture wounds.
This is the second Tavares man to be attacked by an alligator in less than a month. On October 15, an alligator lunged at Doug Brown as he was working on a water pump behind a home on Canal Street, just blocks away from Wednesday's incident. Brown's mother witnessed the attack
"I said to Dougy, 'Watch the alligator!' and he kept looking at me, and I said, 'Here it comes!' and next thing, jumps straight up in the air and Dougy jumped up on his seat at that point, and it jumped to get his hand and he pulled his hand," explained Doreen Brown.
Brown sustained injuries to his hand; the 8-foot gator was trapped the following day by wildlife officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. FWC believes a resident in the community may have been feeding that alligator, which would explain why it was so aggressive.
According to FWC, Florida averages about seven unprovoked bites per year that are serious enough to require special medical treatment, but officials say the frequency of these serious bites is increasing. Alligators seldom bite people, and fatalities from such occurrences are extremely rare. Wildlife officers say an alligator that was repsonsible for the death of a 61-year-old man who was swimming at Blue Spring State park last month. James Okkerse disappeared while swimming with friends at the state park near Orange City on Oct. 19. His body was later recovered and the 12-foot alligator believed to be responsible was captured and killed. The Volusia County Medical Examiner's Office later confirmed that the man's death was the first fatality from an alligator attack since 2007.
Fox 35 Weather Authority