• Gators gone wild: 2018 was their year in Florida

    By: Kelly Healey, WFTV.com

    Updated:

    One could say 2018 was the year of the gator, and we’re not talking about the University of Florida football team.

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    It's a well-known fact that if you live in Florida, you are most likely to encounter an alligator, or at least read a story involving one. 

    Throughout 2018, gators have popped up in back yards, schools and even convenience stores across the Sunshine State. 

    Take a look at some of the wildest and most interesting stories that have frightened and fascinated Floridians this year:

    Traffic stopper: A 7-foot alligator slowed down traffic on I-295 in April. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said they responded to a call about a wandering alligator on the northbound side of the interstate. Read the full article here. 

    Backyard gator: Imagine waking up and seeing an 11-foot gator chilling in a pond behind your house. One Orange County family did, and it was all caught on video. Read the full article here.

    Officers to the rescue! A 5-foot alligator was spotted in a Winter Haven neighborhood in May. A police officer lassoed the gator while another officer threw a towel over its eyes. Read the full article here.

    When all odds are against you: Mating season and a homeowner's association were preventing a woman from having a 4-foot gator removed from her backyard. She was recording her son playing with an inflatable gator, and when she finished filming, she noticed the real gator hanging out in the background of the shot the entire time. Read the full article here. 

    When a snake tried to eat a gator: Have you ever felt sorry for an alligator? One man did. In June, a man had the daring task of rescuing a small alligator from the grips of a 10-foot Burmese python in the Everglades. Read the full article here.

    Educated alligator? A gator was calmly waiting outside the doors of Frostproof Middle-Senior High School in Polk County. One deputy quipped, "This guy just showed up for summer school. Guess gators aren’t really smart after all, huh?" Read the full article here.

    When gators get feisty: A trapper and an officer in Ocoee got more than they bargained for. The video below shows the trapper trying to restrain the gator, and as he was trying to capture it, the animal headbutted the trapper, knocking him out cold. Read the full article here.

    How did the gator cross the road? With the help of two women! A viewer said she was sitting at a red light in Orlando when two women got out of their cars to help an alligator cross the road. The alligator might have wandered from a nearby lake. Read the full article here.

    Up a tree: In July, a teenager's mother called 911 saying her 15-year-old daughter was, “trapped in a tree by a large gator.” Read the full article here.

    “You have a what in where?” A dispatcher in Miami Gardens had to make sure the call wasn't a joke when the caller reported a baby alligator walking into a gas station. Read the full article here.

    Beer run: When Robby Stratton walked into a convenience store carrying an alligator, he asked, "Y’all got beer still?" Many people wanted to know why he decided to carry the reptile, to which he replied, "This store sells some good liquor, and I drank a lot of it that night." Read the full article here. 

    Maybe gators just like gas stations: A delivery man was throwing out boxes behind a Daytona Beach gas station when he was surprised by an alligator. Video posted to Facebook shows an officer steering the alligator out of the garbage area and into a pond. Read the full article here.

     "There is a gator eating a man!" An 85-year-old man survived when a gator chomped down on his foot at the Big Cypress Golf and Country Club in Lakeland. People who witnessed the attack were horrified. Read the full article here.

    Gator takes dip in woman's pool: “I looked out the door and I said, ‘Oh, my God, we have another alligator.’" Wait ... it's happened before? Read the full article here.

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