A woman snorkeling in a spring-fed pool came face to face with a 9-foot alligator that bit her, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
It happened Sunday, Nov. 5, at Alexander Springs in Ocala National Forest, and the 20-year-old swimmer was hospitalized, officials said in a news release. Alexander Springs is about 60 miles northwest of Orlando.
Marissa Carr reports she surfaced to see “two little eyes sticking out of the water,” then the alligator lunged and bit her on the forehead, according to station WOFL.
“Sounds bad, but it biting my head is probably the best place that it could have been because like, if it would have got my arm and that it would have got a better grip on my arm and I could have lost my arm,” she told the station. “I’m genuinely just really, really lucky.”
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports her wounds were non-life-threatening.
“An FWC officer and contracted nuisance alligator trapper responded, and a 9-(foot) male alligator was removed,” the commission said.
The fate of the alligator was not revealed. However, nuisance alligators become the property of licensed trappers when removed. They can be sold “alive to an alligator farm, animal exhibit or zoo.” The alligators can also be processed for their hide and meat, as a form of compensation for the trapper, officials said.
Alexander Springs is known for being “extraordinarily clear with a sandy bottom” and stays at a constant temperature of 72 degrees. The recreation area is home to a population of alligators, according to Recreation.gov.
Alligators live in all 67 Florida counties, and are most active from dusk to dawn, the state says. That makes it imperative that people “swim only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours and without your pet,” FWC says.
The FWC says people with concerns about an alligator can call the Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286), and “a contracted nuisance alligator trapper” will be sent to revolve the situation.