Alligator Kills 85-Year-Old Woman in Florida

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An 85-year-old woman was killed in an alligator attack as she was walking her dog in Fort Pierce, Florida.

By Chloe Kim, BBC News, Washington DC

Local media reported the 10-foot (3m) alligator first attacked the woman’s dog, but went after her once she tried to save the pet.

Alligator attacks – especially resulting in death – are uncommon according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

The woman’s dog survived the attack.

“The victim has been recovered and a contracted nuisance alligator trapper has captured the alligator involved in the incident,” the FWC said in a statement.

The FWC and St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office responded to an emergency call about an alligator bite in the Spanish Lakes Fairways retirement community on Monday.

Neighbours told local media that the alligator emerged from the water and lunged at the dog. She tried to get the dog away from the reptile but somehow fell victim to the gator.

She has not been immediately identified.

After locating the large alligator in the retirement community, six wildlife officials had to wrangle it into the back of a pickup truck.

The FWC recommends staying aware of alligator sightings when near freshwater and if bitten by an alligator, the “best thing to do is fight back”.

Officials said alligators are “opportunistic feeders”, and they eat prey readily available to them.

If the prey is not easily overpowered, “they will often let go and retreat.”

Alligators can be found in all 67 counties of Florida, but they “seldom bite people and fatalities from such occurrences are rare”, according to the FWC fact-sheet on its website.

Since 1948, only 26 out 442 unprovoked bites in the state have resulted in human fatality, according to FWC data.