PALMETTO (FOX 13) - The gargantuan alligator that has been spotted making its way across the greens of the Buffalo Creek Golf Course in Palmetto, Florida was, ironically, the very first gator to greet the course's general manager when he moved here five years ago from California.
"That's the first alligator I saw when I got here," said General Manager Ken Powell, who admits it pales in comparison to most gators seen in Florida. "This is real."
"He's big, he's not a nuisance, he doesn't hurt anybody. He's got a giant reservoir to go to," said Powell.
The first video that went viral of the gator was shot by a golfer showing the gator sauntering across the eighth hole at the golf course as the golfers watched in awe. "That is the biggest freaking alligator I've ever seen in my life," golfer Charles Helms is heard saying on video. "That is a monster."
The gator is believed to be 14 or 15 feet in length, but that is just a rough estimate. Understandably, no one has gotten close enough to measure it.
Powell said the gator comes out this time every year for mating season and typically spends most of its time at the reservoir near the third tee.
The video Powell posted to YouTube recently shows the alligator walking across the 6-foot-wide cart path and collapsing to the ground to rest. The video was shot up close by someone in a golf cart, but Powell doesn't recommend anyone else get that close to it.
"If you're on foot, you don't want to be that close," Powell said.
Powell, who manages all of Manatee County's golf courses, said they've thought about nicknames for the alligator, but none have ever really stuck.
Now, the golf course hopes to officially name its alligator, in an effort to promote its preservation and discourage any harm to the beast.
However, he hopes that no one exploits or tries to hurt the gargantuan gator.
"We just don't want anybody out here trying to take him away. He can just live his life out here, he doesn't hurt anybody," Powell added.
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