SARASOTA (FOX 13) - Alligators are gathered near an old sinkhole at lower Myakka Lake in Sarasota in a scene that has never been more Florida.
The gators are near what's called the 'Deep Hole' sinkhole, which is a 200-foot-wide, 130- to 140-foot-deep pool at Myakka River State Park that has become a known gathering place for alligators.
As SkyFOX flew over the hole Tuesday, dozens of alligators -- and a few vultures -- lined the banks and dozens more were in the water. The spot is considered one of the best gator-watching sites in the park, and even in the state.
"There's food, there's water. A lot of the things they need, they can find here," park ranger Chris Zizak offered. "I've never, ever seen alligators in this kind of concentration or number anywhere else that I've ever been."
Tourists can only get to the site with a special permit; 30 per day are available.
Wildlife photographer Lee Dalton recently made the trek through the park to capture the scene for himself. His photos show alligator after alligator sunning and, occasionally, snacking.
"At first I couldn't quite believe what I was seeing," he told FOX 13. "I'd never previously seen more than one or two at a time, so to see close to 200 was surreal. It was a phenomenal experience photographing the alligators -- to see such a huge number massed around the banks of a relatively small area was incredible."
Dalton has travelled the world from his U.K. home to photograph dangerous wild animals, including jaguars in Brazil, black caiman in Guyana, and anacondas in Venezuela. He says he wasn't scared here in Florida, but knew he had to watch his step.
"It was quite intimidating at first to see such a huge number of potentially dangerous animals, but I soon realised that these alligators were more interested in sunning themselves than in their next meal," he continued. "I would, of course, keep my distance as they can run over short distances incredibly fast."
LINK: More information about the Myakka River State Park. You can also call them to arrange a visit by calling: (941) 361-6511.
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