Orange alligator turns heads in Nokomis neighborhood

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SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. -- One Nokomis neighborhood had quite a shock Wednesday when they met their newest neighbor.

Residents at Sorrento Woods say it's usually pretty quiet there, but a new neighbor has people talking.

“When I was coming back from work this morning I passed by, and I thought I saw what I thought I saw, but I had to back up and come and look again.” Sylvia Mythen says she barely believed her eyes. “It was indeed an orange alligator.”

Orange Alligator

Orange Alligator seen in Sorrento Woods in January, 2011

And Sylvia wasn't the only one who saw it. “He was just sun basking right here on this cement pier minding his own business,” says Phillip Crosby.

Most people would be afraid; but not Sylvia. “I thought this is great…I'm going to snap a picture and send it to my grandkids so they think I'm one of the coolest grandmas in Florida.”

In the picture she took, seen first on and ABC 7, you can clearly see that the reptile is orange.

Orange Alligator, January 2011

Orange alligator seen in Sorrento Woods in January, 2011.

Some neighbors say they were a little skeptical, thinking it was dirt or mud. But at closer glance…”I see him as I was passing by in my car, and he was definitely orange…his whole body was orange,” says Crosby.

“I was from him to you away from him, and he was orange. So if it was mud, he did a good job of covering himself…every nook and cranny,” says Mythen.

She not only contacted ABC 7, but she also contacted a biologist. “His findings were that it’s probably almost an albino…in between. It's an albino, only a little more color, so he wasn't a full-fledged albino.”

For now, residents say the orange gator is more than welcome to call Sorrento Woods home.

Mythen says the biologist told her that the orange gator is extremely rare. So rare in fact that he's never even seen one.

Gary Morse from Florida Fish and Wildlife says, “The official opinion from our alligator experts is that this is alligator is not naturally orange. We believe it's orange from paint, stain, iron oxide or some other element in the environment that has left a coating on the animal, making it appear orange."