LAKELAND, Fla. — An 85-year-old Lakeland man is recovering Monday evening after he was attacked earlier in the day by an alligator.
- Attack occurred at Cypress Lakes retirement community
- Alligator measured nine feet, nine inches long
- FWC hired trapper to remove gator
- More Polk County stories
Residents near the Cypress Lakes retirement community in Lakeland say seeing alligators in small ponds is very common, but the gators don't ever attack.
That was not the case on Monday.
Landscaper Edward Donnelly was working on a nearby home when he heard the screams. He ran to help.
"He was laying up on the edge of the woods. His foot was pretty gruesome," Donnelly said.
Donnelly used a towel to help stop the bleeding as they waited for help to arrive. He said the man was near the pond trying to chase birds off of his property.
"He said the birds were making a mess in his backyard," Donnelly explained. "He said next thing you knew he saw something come up, bit him and was trying to pull him down."
The victim was rushed to the hospital. No further information on his condition has been released.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission hired a trapper to remove the gator, which measured at more than 9 feet long.
"A gator attack is rare. In these instances, we do take abundance of caution and remove the alligator," said FWC PIO Ashley Tyer.
Donnelly says the man was in incredible pain but hopes he was able to help keep him alive.
"I would hope anyone else would. I just reacted. I didn’t really think about it," Donnelly said.
FWC continues to investigate what happened.