PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- We found a gator in the backyard of our very own Mike and Tera Barz. It's been hanging around the last few weeks but recently started getting aggressive. We think it's protecting a nest which, like humans, is willing to do at all costs.
"They're starting to show up more often now. People are seeing them," a trapper said.
He was called in to remove the beast and eliminate any threat it may cause to kids and pets.
The process isn't a walk in the park. A fishing pole is used to bait the gator and a rope is used to tie around the mouth. If need be wrestling is involved.
That didn't happen this time. The reptile swam away before it could be captured. If it hadn't, because of its size, it would have been sent away and disposed of.
"They become dinner, shoes, belts, stuff like that," the trapper continued.
Last year alone, more than 250 were trapped in northeast St. Johns County. You may remember the monster from a few weeks ago in Orange Park. An 11 and a half foot gator made its way just feet from a man's front door. Tropical Storm Debby pushed many of them into residential areas and changed mating habits.
In result everyone needs to be mindful. "Watch where they're stepping, especially if they have a pool or something like that. Before they dive in, take a look, make sure there's not an alligator in there."
Although the Barz' gator is gone for now the specialist will be back to set a bait trap. For now, he's leaving the kids with some very valuable advice.
"Don't open the back gate very wide. Just leave her alone and let us take care of it."
If you do come face to face with an alligator don't try to take care of it yourself. Call Florida Wildlife and Conservation Commission at 888-404-FWCC.