SARASOTA COUNTY – State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota has posted additional signs on its Venice campus warning about alligators in Lake Jervey, following a March 9 incident in which a 50-pound pit bull was attacked and likely eaten by an alligator.
A woman visiting the campus brought her unleashed dog to the college.
It got close to the freshwater preserve dubbed Lake Jervey, in honor of philanthropist Bill Jervey Jr., and was captured by the alligator, which took it underwater.
Two alligators were removed from Lake Jervey
Two days later, alligator trappers contracted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission through its Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program caught and removed two alligators from the water body, FWC spokesman Adam Brown said via email.
One alligator was 6-foot, 9 inches in length and the other was 7-foot-10. A necropsy was not performed, so it is unknown whether either alligator ate the dog.
Brown noted that necropsies are typically only performed when the victim is human.
SCF spokeswoman Jamie Smith noted that a sign at the entrance of campus warns of alligators, as do several other permanent signs that warn of both alligators and snakes.
In 2021: FWC investigating alligator attack on man in North Venice pond
Also:Tampa man recovering after gator attack in the Myakka River
In 2018: Alligator kills dog at Shamrock Park in South Venice
Alligator mating season is approaching in Florida
With alligator mating season approaching, the college has placed additional temporary yard signs around the camps as well.
Alligator mating season is typically April to June.
“As that area grows – Wellen Park – we’re having additional visitors to our campus, so we’re hoping to create additional awareness,” Smith said, referring to a nearby development.
While the college is technically in unincorporated Sarasota County, it is adjacent to Wellen Park in the city of North Port, and residents have visited the campus to use walking trails.
An FWC release noted that serious injuries caused by alligators are rare in Florida, though the SNAP program exists to handle complaints raised about alligators that could threaten people, pets or property.
The toll-free nuisance alligator hotline is 866–392-4286.
The FWC cautions that dogs and cats are similar in size to the animals alligators prey upon and pets should not be allowed to exercise, or drink near bodies of water.
Ideally pets should be kept on a short leash and away from the water.
Typically nuisance alligators are not relocated, because they will try to return to the site where they were captured.
The trapper, who receives a $30 stipend for each nuisance alligator caught, typically sells of the hide and meat to recover costs though on occasion they may be sold alive to an alligator farm or zoo.
For more information visit https://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/wildlife/alligator/snap.
The FWC estimates that there are about 1.3 million alligators in Florida and that they reside in all 67 counties, though they prefer freshwater lakes and slow-moving rivers.
Earle Kimel primarily covers south Sarasota County for the Herald-Tribune and can be reached at email@example.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription to the Herald-Tribune.