Alligator spotted on beach at Canaveral National Seashore
VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - A New Smyrna Beach resident this weekend spotted an alligator walking on the sand and swimming in the water at the Canaveral National Seashore.
"I looked away. Then, I looked back and [it was] a gator," John Franks said.
At first, he couldn't believe his eyes, but his vision wasn't playing a trick on him. It was, indeed, a gator on the beach.
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"By the time I got a picture of him, he was right there on the water, and then he went into the water and splashed around for a little bit. Then, he disappeared," Franks said.
The encounter happened Sunday at the beach near parking lot five. Franks is out there multiple times a week and has seen a lot of wildlife over the years but never an alligator swimming by the shore.
"It went out [into the water]. I guess it went fishing," he said.
Apparently, as bizarre as the sight was, it's not uncommon.
"It's actually not too rare, especially this time of year. You've got breeding season happening, and they started early this year because of our weather patterns this year," Robbie Keszey, an alligator expert and star of Discovery's "Swamp Brothers," told FOX 35.
Bigger alligators, he says, are chasing smaller alligators out, forcing them to find refuge, at least temporarily.
"Gators can go into saltwater, but they cannot live in a saltwater environment. They do need fresh water to drink," Keszey said.
That's why we can expect this alligator to find its way back where it came from, likely the Mosquito Lagoon across the road. But if you see one at the beach, Keszey says you shouldn't be too concerned. Just keep your distance, and, especially, don't feed it.
"Them going out into the saltwater is like basically they're going into new territory, so they're going to be a little timid and they're going to tend to stay away from people," he said.
Franks is just thankful he could be there to capture an unforgettable moment.
"It was interesting, to say the least," he said. "I doubt whether I'll see another one again."