Town Shores had an unexpected visitor on Saturday, April 16. A large alligator was seen by multiple residents swimming in and around the waters of the large Gulfport condominium complex. While some estimates put the gator around six to seven feet, Gulfport native and Town Shores resident Alex Glass got a closer look.
“It had to be almost nine feet,” he said of the reptile he documented as it cruised the waters around the complex. “It was a monster.”
The sight of an alligator in Boca Ciega Bay is not particularly common, though not unheard of. While gators don’t often stray from fresh or brackish water, according to NOAA’s National Ocean Service website, they can tolerate salt water for short periods of time. It’s currently mating season, which, some speculated, may have pushed the gator into uncharted territory in search of a mate.
Gulfport Police were called when the gator seemed to head toward Gulfport Beach, though, according to Gulfport Police Chief Rob Vincent, they did not see the animal.
“Police don’t get involved if they are not a threat,” said Vincent of Florida’s ubiquitous reptiles. However if alligators become a problem, officers will “call trappers who will take care of it.”
Residents who saw the gator on Saturday won’t soon forget it. There was a bit of excitement on social media with pictures of the animal posted on Facebook.
Said Glass, “It sure livened up Town Shores in the morning!”