Gale force winds weren’t enough to deter one mighty gator from hitting the greens at a golf club in Naples, in Florida, last Wednesday.
The massive alligator was spotted casually strolling around the Valencia Golf and club grounds and was recorded by Tyler Stolting, a golf professional at the club.
Large alligators are not an uncommon sight within Florida — fans of the University of Florida even cheer on the Gators mascot — but this one gained attention for its rather prehistoric appearance.
It also made its presence known amid Tropical Storm Eta on Wednesday, which brought gale-force winds and threatening storm surges about 60 miles west-northwest of Tampa.
The storm briefly intensified to a Category 1 Hurricane before hitting the state, making it just the sixth November hurricane on record within the Gulf of Mexico.
As rare as a November hurricane could be, the alligator seemed unimpressed by the commotion surrounding it as it made its way through the course.
The sheer size of the animal had many on social media questioning whether it had been real.
However, consistent with David Sheen, the reptile & amphibian research leader of the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, there was “nothing unusual” about the dimensions of the alligator.
“It’s an iconic species and conservation success story. But in short, there’s nothing unusual about this alligator or the video,” he said on Twitter.
It’s not the first and only time an alligator has been spotted on the golf links.
In 2017, American golfer Cody Gribble nudged a slumbering gator off the golf green and into the water during the Arnold Palmer Invitational’s opening day in Orlando, Florida.
Experts say ‘nothing abnormal’ about massive alligators seen on the Florida golf course.
The large alligator caught taking a stroll at a Florida golf link — and stupefying the entire of social media — is “nothing abnormal,” consistent with gator experts.
The mammoth reptile was spotted at Valencia Golf & country club in Naples Wednesday as Tropical Storm Eta bore down on Florida, its massive swinging tail and hulking walk sparking questions over whether it had been real or something out of Jurassic Park.
Rest assured, the beast is real.
“Not very many folks get to see these alligators high walk,” John Brueggen, director at St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, told Huffington Post in an email sent to them. “But, there’s nothing abnormal or strange about this alligator.”
Gator expert Brandon Fisher told the media that the creature “seems pretty legit” despite the gators’ unusual gait — which happens once they get up with “full legs opened up completely.”
He estimated that the reptile was 9 or 10 feet long — admittedly big for a “golf course gator.”
“Adult alligators, especially getting up to the nine-to-10 foot range and above, their legs are about a foot-and-a-half to 2 feet long,” Fisher said. “So, once they get up and they do this high walk, they’re about to look tall.”
Meanwhile, Dave Steen, reptile & amphibian research leader of the Fish & Wildlife Research Institute for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, told HuffPost that the gator’s appearance might appear shocking with no context.
“”I think some people may have a distorted sense of scale when watching the photo,” Steen said. “And the alligator may appear larger and taller than it is. I feel many people also aren’t accustomed to seeing an alligator walking within the open.””
“”There’s nothing unusual or strange about the video. It’s a good-sized alligator out for a stroll,” he concluded.
This is the giant gator sighting to top all giant gator sightings – News article from 2017
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