Alligator seen chomping on plastic, trash at Florida wildlife refuge

A Florida woman hopes that her video of an alligator eating a large piece of plastic at a Florida wildlife refuge will encourage others to stop littering.

Tallahassee resident Corine Samwel posted video of the encounter to Facebook while visiting the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge on June 23. 

"I was having a wonderful time at the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge until I saw this," she wrote on Facebook.

In a series of videos, the alligator walks up the beach at the refuge and starts eating what appears to be a piece of plastic with a rope attached to it. After swallowing the trash, Samwel tells Fox 35 that the alligator started walking back toward the water.

"It just crawled forward and laid down several times. And then, all of a sudden, it picked up the plastic thing that had the rope attached to it, and chewed for a bit and swallowed. Then it went back in the water, rope trailing from its mouth. It was heartbreaking to watch and not do anything."

Samwel said she contacted The Florida Fish and Wildlife and the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge, "as well as their Friends Association and The St. Francis Wildlife Association" to make them aware of the problem.


"There are people who don't seem to care about the consequences of littering." 

She said she hopes the video will serve as a reminder to "reuse, and if we can't, recycle and compost as much as possible."

"I think the impact will be more people might start to pick up more trash, and then the litterers will start caring. But who knows? There is always hope."