Video: Officials wrangle large alligator seen on path kids walk in Pinellas County: ‘Absolute dinosaur'

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - A large gator spotted in Pinellas County has been safely relocated to South Florida.

Deputies with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office say they got a call earlier this week from someone who said there was an alligator on a pathway that children often walk to get to and from school.

When deputies arrived, they found a 12-and-a-half-foot alligator walking along Joe’s Creek near 46th Avenue and called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for help.

<div>Courtesy: Pinellas County Sheriff's Office</div>
Courtesy: Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

PCSO set up a perimeter to keep people away and used newfound alligator whispering skills to keep the reptile in the area.

VIDEO: Barefoot Florida man wrangles 8-foot alligator

In video, officials can be heard nervously laughing as they tell the gator to ‘sit.’

They also tell the ‘absolute dinosaur’ it’s a ‘good boy,’ and even give the reptile some love pats to help it de-stress.

<div>Courtesy: Pinellas County Sheriff's Office</div>
Courtesy: Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

Once the reptile was wrangled, it was taken to an area in South Florida.

PCSO says most bodies of water in the area contain alligators and residents and visitors should be cautious. It also wants to remind parents to teach their children to be vigilant.

READ: Florida gator mating season begins soon: Here’s what to know

According to FWC, May is gator mating season and the animals may be traveling to seek out a mate.

<div>Courtesy: Pinellas County Sheriff's Office</div>
Courtesy: Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

FWC tips to stay safe around alligators

  • If you encounter an alligator that is believed to pose a threat to people, pets, or property, call the FWC’s Nuisance Alligator Hotline, toll‐free at 1‐866‐FWC‐GATOR (392‐4286). The FWC’s Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP) uses contracted nuisance alligator trappers throughout the state to remove alligators 4 feet in length or greater that are believed to pose a threat.

  • Be aware of the possible presence of alligators when in or near fresh or brackish water. Negative alligator encounters may occur when people do not pay close attention to their surroundings when working or recreating near water.

  • Closely supervise children when they are playing in or around water.

  • Never swim outside of posted swimming areas.

  • Swim only during daylight hours. Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn.

  • Do not allow pets to swim, exercise, or drink in or near waters that may contain alligators or in designated swimming areas with humans. Dogs are more susceptible to being bitten than humans because dogs resemble the natural prey of alligators. The sound of dogs barking and playing may draw an alligator to the area.

  • Never feed or entice alligators – it is dangerous and illegal. When fed, alligators overcome their natural wariness and associate people with food.

  • Inform others that feeding alligators is illegal and creates problems for others who want to recreate in or near the water.

  • Dispose of fish scraps in garbage cans at boat ramps and fish camps – do not throw them in the water. Although you are not intentionally feeding alligators when you do this, the result can be the same.

  • Observe and photograph alligators only from a safe distance. Remember, they are an important part of Florida’s natural history as well as an integral component of freshwater ecosystems.

  • Leave alligators alone. State law prohibits killing, harassing, or possessing alligators except under a permit.

  • Never remove an alligator from its natural habitat or accept one as a pet. It is illegal and dangerous to do so. Handling even small alligators can result in injury.

  • If an alligator bites you, the best thing to do is fight back, providing as much noise and resistance as possible. Hitting or kicking the alligator or poking it in its eyes may cause it to release its grip.

  • When alligators seize prey they cannot easily overpower, they will often let go and retreat.

  • Seek immediate medical attention if bitten by an alligator. Alligator bites often result in serious infection.

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