SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. - Florida alligators can often be found sunbathing next to a lake, river or pond. But concerned residents of a Nokomis neighborhood say their gator visitor should not be able to stay.
In a pond just off Albee Farm Road in Nokomis, about half a mile from Laurel Nokomis School, lies an unwanted visitor – a gator that’s about four to five feet long.
The gator feeds off local wildlife. “My husband got a picture of the gator decapitating a duck -- and there is turtles around and the gator is just feasting on everything in this pond,” says nearby resident Carol Loucks.
And she says with a school crosswalk just a few feet away from the pond, she is concerned for the children’s safety. “I'm trying to get authorities to help get this gator out of here to protect the children. No one will help me. I want people to know that the gator is in this area; please keep your children away. Calls the schools and force somebody to do something to protect the children.”
However Venice Wildlife Center office manager Don Pride says gators live in almost every body of water in Florida. “We advocate leaving them alone. They exist here in Florida and are just part of the neighborhood.”
Most Nokomis residents don't agree. “They would relocate it -- I would hope they would do that -- I don't know where, but somewhere that there isn't so many people,” says Ed Ripley.
Yet Pride tells ABC 7 that because of the gator’s size, relocating might not be an option. “Most circumstances, if it’s over 4 feet it will be destroyed. And we don't want to see that happen. We would rather the gator was left alone to exist as natural wildlife.”
Which leaves this Nokomis neighborhood gator between a rock and a hard spot – or at least between a pond and a crosswalk.
ABC 7 also reached out to Florida Fish and Wildlife, but they did not return our call prior to air-time.