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INSTI-GATOR: Alligator Slithers through the Surf at Satellite Beach

| posted on July 06, 2009

The alligator's unexpected presence sparked tourist attention, and many were quite excited about its appearance.  Photo by Steven Harp

The alligator's unexpected presence sparked tourist attention, and many were quite excited about its appearance. Photo by Steven Harp

George Walrath, the Nuisance Alligator Trapper for Brevard County insists there is little cause for alarm as this is a rare occurrence. Alligators typically steer clear of saltwater. “This is only the second one in the ten years that I’ve been doing it,” said Walrath. Photographer Steven Harp, who has experience documenting animals of this type, agreed: “It was pretty eerie. I’ve been on the beach here for almost 30 years, and I’ve never seen an alligator out in the ocean.”

Harp photographed the reptile, saying it stayed 50-75 feet offshore for the two miles he stayed with him. He noted that the salt water bothered the gator, as it swam with its head above water.

Walrath tried to snag the creature with a fishing line, but never caught it. “It was out past the break in the surf, too far for me to catch,” he said. “He was just moving north and stayed out of my reach.”

The next morning tracks were found farther north, and it was assumed that he disappeared into the dunes somewhere. However, it was decided that he wasn’t really a threat, so the hunt has been relinquished.