Alligator Crashes UF Students’ Lake Alice Picnic

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A video taken by Richard Reed shows an alligator visiting a picnic lunch near Lake Alice on Wednesday.

Michael Tamayo and a friend were picnicking by Lake Alice on Wednesday when an unexpected guest decided to join.

An alligator crept up to the University of Florida students’ picnic blanket and started to chomp down on a sandwich.

A bystander, Richard Reed Jr., caught the gator encounter on video, and at close proximity. Tamayo posted the video to his Facebook page saying, “Just a hungry little gator looking to score some food.”

The gator made his move when Tamayo was taking a picture of Reed and his wife. By the time Tamayo turned around the reptile had hold on his sandwich.

After videoing the gator snacking, Reed helped Tamayo shoo the reptile back into the confines of the lake.

Dr. Kent A. Vliet, a UF researcher who has studied alligators for 35 years, said he heard of the same type of situation about two years ago. An alligator came to visit a group of people near Lake Alice for lunch, got some of their food and left without showing any aggression.

The alligator learned a lesson.

“They learn really quickly,” Vliet said. “If they are at a proper operating temperature, they learn as quickly or more quickly than lab mice.”

He said the picnickers did the right thing — mostly.

“Ideally, it would be good to grab the food when you run away — to grab that reward…He’s not dangerous.”

About Caitie Switalski

Caitie is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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