Homeless woman attacked by gator while swimming in Lake Hernando

FWC officials say a homeless woman was swimming in Lake Hernando when a 5- to 6-foot alligator grabbed her by her left arm and dragged her underwater. 

FWC officials say a homeless woman was swimming in Lake Hernando when a 5- to 6-foot alligator grabbed her by her left arm and dragged her underwater.

Officials say the woman was able to get away and called 911. She was treated at the Ocala Regional Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, sources said.

FWC and the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office are working to catch the gator, the CCSO said. Whoever catches it can keep the meat and the hide as part of the state wide nuisance alligator program, FWC said. Florida’s alligator hunting season started Aug. 15.

Officials say anyone who believes a specific alligator poses a threat to people, pets, or property they should call the toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR or 866-392-4286.

Hear the woman’s 911 call by clicking the play button below:

FWC provides tips for living with alligators

Florida has a healthy and stable alligator population, which is estimated at 1.3 million alligators of every size.

FWC photo

The American alligator is a conservation success story.

Florida has a healthy and stable alligator population, which is estimated at 1.3 million alligators of every size.

They are an important part of Florida’s wetlands, but should be regarded with caution and respect.

Alligators become more active and visible during spring when temperatures rise and their metabolism increases. Although serious injuries caused by alligators are rare in Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recommends taking precautions when having fun in and around the water. 

Alligators inhabit all 67 counties in Florida and can be found anywhere there is standing water. Reduce the chances of conflicts with alligators by swimming only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours. Also keep pets on a leash and away from the water.

Because alligators control their body temperature by basking in the sun, they may be easily observed. However, the FWC urges people to keep their distance if they see one. And never feed alligators because it is dangerous and illegal.

The FWC places the highest priority on public safety and administers a Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program to address complaints concerning specific alligators. People concerned about an alligator should call the FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (392-4286). SNAP uses contracted nuisance alligator trappers throughout the state to remove alligators 4 feet in length or greater that are believed to pose a threat to people, pets or property. The FWC also works diligently to keep Floridians and visitors informed, including providing advice about Living with Alligators.

Learn more about alligators at MyFWC.com/Alligator.

FWC infographic (Click for larger image)