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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida woman said she considers herself “really lucky” after a 9-foot alligator left her with only scratches after it bit her on the head over the weekend.
Marissa Carr, 20, was snorkeling at a park swimming hole when the gator “came out of nowhere,” she told Fox 35 Orlando.
On Tuesday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told WFLA it received reports about a woman who was bitten by an alligator at Alexander Springs, a popular spot for divers located about 60 miles north of Orlando.
When the FWC arrived at the scene Sunday, Carr was being taken to a local hospital for treatment. A contracted nuisance alligator trapper also responded and removed the male alligator from the park.
Carr, who was at the park snorkeling with her friend, said she believes her full-face snorkel mask probably saved her life. She said the mask went over her head, and she believes the alligator couldn’t get a good grip on her.
“Sounds bad, but it biting my head is probably the best place that it could have been because, like, if it would have got my arm and that it would have got a better grip on my arm, and I could have lost my arm or just, like, my life in general. So, like, I think the head — he didn’t get a good grip of it. So I think I’m genuinely just really, really lucky,” she said.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, Carr’s encounter was the second alligator-related incident at Alexander Springs in less than a week.
“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,” the FWC said in a statement.
Here are some tips the FWC said people should know when dealing with alligators in Florida:
- Keep a safe distance if you see an alligator.
- 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 the availability of food, which can lead to dangerous circumstances for yourself and others who could encounter the alligator in the future.