For the second time in just over a week an alligator in Florida was found eating a dead man. Just as with the first incident, on Tuesday police managed to scare the creature away from the grisly scene and recover what was left of the badly-chewed up corpse.
In both instances, on May 31 in South Florida and Tuesday in central Florida, it’s not known if the person being eaten was killed by the alligators (in the first incident two gators were eating the dead male, in the second one) or if the unfortunate victim died from another cause and the gators simply stumbled upon a ready meal.
Tests are being done to determine the cause of death in each case. The man found dead Tuesday has been identified as 72-year-old Richard Zachary Taylor; the identity of the man found dead in the first incident has not been released.
Alligator eating dead man off-shore
It was Tuesday afternoon at about 1:30 p.m. when Lakeland, Florida police received a call from a concerned citizen walking near Lake Hunter, in the city of some 100,000, who said he was watching an alligator with a corpse in its teeth 30 meters offshore. The lake is unprotected and any of the 10 alligators believed to be in Lake Hunter can wander up to the beach whenever they please.
“Uniform patrol officers responded to the scene and observed what appeared to be a body in the alligator’s mouth just off of the shoreline at Lake Hunter Drive and Cresap Avenue,” a police statement said. “The alligator let go of the body and swam off, circulating the area for approximately one hour.”
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission sent officers to the scene and they called in a trapper. The trapper hunted and killed an alligator but initially they were not certain if it was the man-eating gator he got. However, after examining the contents of the gator’s stomach they were able to determine they had indeed killed the right beast.
Police said it appears Taylor had been in the water for as many as 3 days. They don’t know if he drowned and was then eaten or if the gator got him while alive. On Saturday a backpack had been found on a ramp at the lake with a shirt and pants in the water. At that time an “aggressive alligator” was reported nearby, police said.
Death near Florida Everglades
The other, similar incident took place on the edge of the Florida Everglades in a canal in the town of Davie. Two fisherman came upon two alligators eating a corpse, also a male, and it took hours for police and a trapper to kill the powerful reptiles and recover the human remains. Davie Police said that what was left of that man’s body was bloated and had been in the water a long time.
It is possible that the victims could have died elsewhere and were then taken to the body of water in which they were found being eaten. There is no indication the two cases are connected.
Other recent incidents involving alligators and people include at least two in which an alligator walked across golf courses in Florida and two (unrelated) instances 90 miles apart in North Carolina in which an alligator was found on a doorstep.
As reported in Blasting News, in February a man in Royal Palm Beach, Florida was arrested for throwing an alligator through the window of a fast food restaurant; his mother said it was intended to be a prank.