Alligator Snatches Family's Pet Dog in Florida

A family dog was killed by an alligator on Monday at Naval Station Mayport, a U.S. Navy base in Florida.

Naval officials said the 13-pound pet was attacked at around 6 p.m. when it ran into Lake Wonderwood, close to its owners' home on the base in Jacksonville.

Heather Hahn, natural resources manager at Naval Station Mayport, told Florida's News4Jax: "The owner's dog got out of the house without them knowing, and she went to try and find the dog, and, unfortunately, it ran down to the water.

"So, it's basically in the water, next to the water, at the same time that there is a gator nearby.

"In this situation, there's nothing that she [the owner] could've done," Hahn added. "But it's good to be aware that there are gators here, and we make sure that we tell everyone about them."

In a post on Facebook, Naval Station Mayport shared an image of the alligator, with the caption: "A reminder to keep yourselves and pets away from our native gators. And a good time to remind everyone that leashes are always required on dogs—in housing, on the beach and especially near bodies of water. Our condolences to the family who lost their dog."

The alligator—a male measuring around 10 feet 10 inches long—was removed from the lake by a trapper, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told News4Jax.

The trapper, a contractor hired by the state, can either take the gator to an alligator farm or "process" it for its meat and its hide, said Karen Parker, a spokesperson for the commission.

Newsweek has contacted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for further comment.

Alligators belong to a reptile group known as crocodilians. Of the 23 species of crocodilians in the world, two are native to the United States: the American alligator and the American crocodile. South Florida is the only place where these two species co-exist, according to the U.S. National Park Service.

"Alligators primarily inhabit freshwater swamps and marshes and can also be found in rivers, lakes, and smaller bodies of water," as well as occasionally in "brackish water around mangrove swamps," the NPS says.

Earlier this month, a dog in California died days after being bitten by a rattlesnake in Pranther, part of the Central Valley region.

The three-year-old dog was playing on rocks outside her owner's home when she was attacked by the snake.

An alligator at Florida's Everglades National Park.
An alligator at Florida's Everglades National Park, photographed in January 2019. A family dog was killed by an alligator on Monday at Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville. Joe Raedle/Getty Images