Sanibel Island Man Bitten on Leg by Submerged Gator

An unidentified 37-year-old Sanibel man was bitten by a gator on Monday. Luckily, he had minor injuries and was treated and released.

The victim was cleaning up some Hurricane Ian debris near a canal on Rabbit Road when a submerged alligator bit him on the left thigh/knee area.

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When the call to 911 call came in, Officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the Sanibel Police Department, Sanibel Fire Department, and Lee County EMS responded to the scene.

According to the Sanibel Police report, officers contacted the patient, an employee suffering from a wound to his left thigh/knee area.

Sanibel Gator Attack

The victim explained that his legs were submerged in the water while removing debris when he felt a bite.

The victim had minor injuries and was treated and released.

A state-contracted nuisance alligator trapper worked to identify and remove three alligators from the water.

The trappers successfully removed two gators, the first measuring eight feet 11 inches and the second measuring seven feet. The darkness set in before they could trap the third gator.

While the official mating season occurs during May and June, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission states that mating season has started a little earlier due to higher spring temperatures. FWC says that alligators tend to become more active during the warmer months when the temperatures are between 82 and 92 degrees.

The FWC places the highest priority on public safety and administers a Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP). The goal of SNAP is to proactively address alligator threats in developed areas while conserving alligators in areas where they naturally occur. SNAP uses contracted nuisance alligator trappers throughout the state to remove alligators believed to pose a threat to people, pets, or property. People with concerns about an alligator should call FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286), and we will dispatch a contracted nuisance alligator trapper to resolve the situation.

The FWC works to keep Floridians, and visitors informed and recommends the following preventive measures near alligators, including in or near the water, to reduce the chances of conflicts with alligators:

  • Keep a safe distance if you see an alligator. If someone is concerned about an alligator, they should call FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286), and we will dispatch a contracted nuisance alligator trapper to resolve the situation.  
  • Keep pets on a leash and away from the water’s edge. Pets often resemble alligators’ natural prey.
  • Swim only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours and without your pet. Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn.
  • Never feed an alligator. It’s illegal and dangerous. When fed, alligators can lose their natural wariness and instead learn to associate people with food availability. This can lead to hazardous circumstances for yourself and others who could encounter the alligator in the future.

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According to the FWC, the best thing to do is fight back if an alligator bites you, providing as much noise and resistance as possible. Hitting or kicking the alligator or poking it in its eyes may cause it to release its grip. When alligators seize prey, they cannot easily overpower; alligators will often let go and retreat.

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