Massive gator takes Easter Sunday stroll through Venice neighborhood

Sarasota County deputies believe it's quite possible the Easter bunny may have avoided a Venice neighborhood after a massive alligator was spotted.

Deputies estimated it to be about 10 feet long when they saw it taking a Sunday stroll around the Harrington Lake community in Venice. Deputies followed the large reptile as it slowly roamed the neighborhood.

"Boy, did he take his time making it back to the lake he came from. (…We can’t blame him just thinking about how heavy that tail must be)," according to a Facebook post.

The agency said they reached out to state wildlife officials, but wanted to let visitors and residents know that the gator is likely still swimming in the neighborhood lake.

Not too long ago, another large gator – this one was missing a leg – was wandering around Venice and was seen stopping traffic to cross a street. 

It even crawled underneath a driver's pickup truck, shaking the vehicle as it made it to the other side.

State officials say it's a good reminder that alligator mating season is upon us, meaning males are on the move.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), mating usually occurs in May or June. Females typically form nests in August and September, where they will then lay on average between 30 and 50 eggs in late June or early July. Hatching takes place August through September.

"If you see an alligator leave it alone, give it its distance," Costell said. 

While giving an alligator its distance is important year-round, it's especially important during mating season. FWC is reminding folks to only swim in designated areas during daylight hours and keep pets away from fresh or brackish water.