A gigantic alligator was caught on camera during a morning stroll at the Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland.
- Giant alligator caught strolling through Polk nature center
- Video released Sunday inspired dozens to visit Circle B Bar Reserve
- Kim Joiner took the video
- For more info on gators, click here
The video, shot by Kim Joiner on Sunday just before noon, led people to head out to the area of protected lands in droves.
“I thought it was huge and I hope to see it today,” said Bridgett Pitts, who was looking for the gator at the nature reserve Monday.
Kristi Buckley was there the same time as Joiner. She and her husband Sean took pictures of mammoth-sized gator that's captured the Internet's curiosity.
“It was awe-inspiring,” said Buckley, an obvious nature enthusiast. “I was just in complete awe. I probably should’ve been more afraid than I was. I was just so inspired seeing this amazing creature come across the path.”
Buckley said they almost missed the moment and were about to leave for lunch when Joiner alerted them the gator was about to cross.
“It was definitely not fake,” Buckley said to the naysayers. “I got a couple images of him going across. It’s just an amazing experience. It’s so important that places like Circle B exist so these animals can live and hunt their fish and birds and other things that they eat.”
The couple nicknamed the alligator “Godzilla” and estimated it was anywhere from 12 to 14 feet long.
“We had observed him going back and forth trying to find a safe spot for him to cross and once the humans got out of the way, and he felt he was safe, he crossed,” Kristi Buckley explained. “I didn’t feel that he was threatening in any way. “
Jeff Spence, director of environmental lands for Polk County, said the gator in the video is "Mr. Humpback." He was unsure of how much it weighed. He estimated the gator has been there for at least a decade.
Spence advised people to respect wildlife, and keep their distance if they see an alligator on the path. He said people should not approach them and said they haven’t had any incidents of alligators attacking people at the reserve.