JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A family at Naval Station Mayport was met with heartbreak and tragedy Monday night when an alligator ate their dog, a spokesperson said.
It happened in the evening at Wonderwood Lake, a popular fishing and kayaking spot on base.
The dog was less than 20 pounds, Naval Station Mayport’s Natural Resources Manager Heather Hahn reported.
“It’s very unfortunate and sad,” Hahn said.
She says gators are a part of the environment – anywhere where there is water, people can expect to see one.
Action News Jax caught a gator on camera at Wonderwood Lake Tuesday afternoon.
Hahn says there’s no way of knowing just how many gators are on base. That’s because they move around during mating season, coming in from the marshes, waterways and even climbing chain link fences.
“They will get here one way or another,” she said.
Because of that, Hahn wants people to live peacefully with the gators, avoiding feeding, touching, or interacting with them.
“If they’re used to us, they’re going to get closer and closer to us,” Hahn said.
She says the best thing to do is stay out of the water between dusk and dawn when gators are most active, and only swim in designated areas.
Hahn says on base, it’s illegal to feed gators and, if caught, people will be fined.
A base spokesperson says Monday night’s incident is the first time in history he’s aware of that a pet has reportedly been killed by a gator.
But this isn’t the first time an alligator on one of our Jacksonville-area military bases has grabbed headlines.
In 2019, a large gator went viral after it was recorded scaling a fence at NAS Jacksonville. A woman stopped to film the alligator as it clawed its way up a fence before belly-flopping onto the grass and casually continuing on its way. You can watch the video here.
You can report a gator that you believe is a nuisance or a danger to the FWC hotline at (866) 392-4286.
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