Woman trimming trees near Florida lake attacked by alligator

A woman was attacked by an alligator Thursday morning while trimming trees near a lake in Florida, officials said.

The 27-year-old woman had been working near the water in North Fort Myers when the 10-foot reptile ambushed her, according to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission news release.

Rescue workers transported the woman to a Fort Myers hospital, where she was treated for injuries to both legs, officials said. She was listed in stable condition.

The fish and wildlife agency contracted a nuisance alligator trapper to capture the animal and remove it from the area.

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Serious injuries caused by alligators are rare in Florida, officials said.

Alligators are found in all 67 Florida counties, FWC says, and there is still a potential for conflict between human and reptile. 

"Because of their predatory nature, alligators may target pets and livestock as prey," FWC said. "Unfortunately, people also are occasionally bitten."

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On average, since 1948, Florida has an average of five unprovoked bites per year. More than 300 unprovoked bites to people have been documented since that year. 

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FWC provided the following safety tips when it comes to alligators:

Generally, alligators less than four feet in length are not large enough to be dangerous unless handled. However, if you encounter any alligator that you believe poses a threat to people, pets or property, call the Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWCGATOR (866-392-4286). Please be aware, nuisance alligators are killed, not relocated. 

Be aware of the possibility of alligators when you are in or near fresh or brackish water. Bites may occur when people do not pay close enough attention to their surroundings when working or recreating near water. 

Do not swim outside of posted swimming areas or in waters that might be inhabited by large alligators. 

Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn. Therefore, avoid swimming at night. 

Dogs and cats are similar in size to the natural prey of alligators. Don’t allow pets to swim, exercise or drink in or near waters that may contain alligators.

Dogs often attract an alligator’s interest, so do not swim with your dog. 

Leave alligators alone. State law prohibits killing, harassing or possessing alligators. Handling even small alligators can result in injury.

Learn more about alligators by visiting FWC's website.