It is believed that a 12-foot-6-inch alligator has killed a Florida woman after investigators found one of her arms inside the reptile.
Shizuka Matsuki, 47, of Plantation, Fla., was walking her dogs on Friday in Davie, according to Officer Ronald Washington of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, when the attack occurred.
“The FWC believes that the victim is deceased and we will continue recovery efforts on the lake with local authorities,” an FWC statement read.
Matsuki was walking with her dogs in Silver Lakes Rotary Nature Park when she vanished, according to police. A witness said they had seen her with her dogs earlier, but later that morning the dogs were barking near the water and she was gone.
Davie Police Maj. Dale Engle said, “Her dogs won’t leave the pond. One of her dogs got bit by the gator.”
The police will remain on the site until her body is found.
Florida developments encroach on wetlands and waterfronts. As a result, all 67 of Florida’s counties have alligators, and people who live in the state can expect to see them.
People are encouraged to report alligator concerns to a hotline, 866-392-4286.
While alligators are common in Florida and in the past 10 years the hotline has received 16,000 alligator complaints each year, attacks by an alligator are rare. According to the wildlife commission, there are “about five unprovoked bites per year.”
Common advice from the wildlife commission is to keep pets away from edges of water and not swim with your dog, as they attract alligators. To avoid confrontation with an alligator, swim only in posted safe swimming areas during daylight hours.
The FWC added, “This tragedy is heartbreaking for everyone involved, and our sincere condolences go out to the family and friends of the victim at this time.”