A guest at a motel in Florida had a close encounter with a massive 7-feet alligator which he mistook for a dog, police said.
The 49-year-old man, who has not been identified, was attacked by the alligator around midnight on Tuesday when he was taking a walk in the garden of Warm Mineral Springs Motel in Sarasota County.
During his stroll, the man said he noticed a dark silhouette moving through the bushes but he did not get alarmed as he assumed it to be a dog on a long leash, “which is why he wasn’t hesitant to move out of the way”, according to WTVT News.
That’s when the reptile bit him, “holding on, and pulling on his muscle/tissue”, the sheriff’s office said. When the man tried to escape, he said he felt the alligator ripping a chunk off his leg.
A Sarasota County deputy who was nearby on a separate call heard his screams and approached the man, calling the emergency medical service unit.
The man was rushed to Sarasota Memorial Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. He has since been released.
The reptile was removed from the scene and was captured by an alligator trapper. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) said it was transferred to a nearby farm, an alligator processor.
The state of Florida has a population of 1.3 million alligators, according to FWC. There have been 442 unprovoked bites, which resulted in 26 fatalities since 1848, when the FWC started keeping records.
The reptiles have been sighted on golf courses, backyards of houses, streets and near water bodies.
Alligators are federally protected under the Endangered Species Act but they can be harvested through Florida’s harvesting programme and hunted with a permit during the hunting season that begins from 15 August to 1 November.