LAKELAND (FOX 13) - Large crowds flocked to a Lakeland park Tuesday with tons of people hoping to catch a glimpse of the massive alligator made famous when video of it went viral a day earlier.
According to Polk County's Director of Natural Resources the gator, nicknamed "Humpback" by folks who frequent the Circle B Bar Reserve, is likely between 10 and 12 feet long and has lived there for years. It's unclear how old it is.
Kim Joiner, a park visitor, shot video of the gator Sunday as it lumbered across a path. The next day her video was being shared around the world.
"I love Circle B. Nature at its best," Joiner wrote in her post. "No photoshop... He was the biggest gator I have seen out there. I have been going out there for years too."
Hundreds of people packed the reserve Tuesday, eager to see the now-famous reptile.
"We walked out there -- sure enough, there it is! It's huge! And when it roars, the ground shakes!" said Burks Oakley. "We were 100 yards away and he just shook everything."
County officials said they're glad to see the park so popular but urged guests to stay safe and keep their distance.
"You just have respect for them and don't crowd them," said Stu Dutterer, a park guest. "Give them their space and enjoy the view."
Although most visitors didn't attempt to bother the massive gator, official said one guest jumped off a viewing platform to try to get a better angle for a photograph; that person was asked to leave.
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