Huge 11-Foot Alligator Blocks Florida Highway, Police Called to Traffic Jam

Florida police officers had to be called this week to handle a traffic jam that was caused by an 11-foot alligator crossing a road.

The gator caused the tie-up when it crawled onto State Road 417 near the north end of a bridge over Lake Jesup, Seminole County.

Police attended the scene to route traffic around the gator before wildlife officers could remove it from the area. The line of traffic extended back for around five miles at one point according to Florida news outlet WKMG.

A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) spokesperson told Newsweek that the alligator "was removed and taken to the processor" by officials.

They added: "When a contracted nuisance alligator trapper removes an alligator, it becomes the property of the trapper. In most cases, the alligator is processed for its hide and meat, which is the primary source of compensation for their services. Occasionally, a nuisance alligator is sold alive to an alligator farm, animal exhibit or zoo. Nuisance alligator trappers receive a $30 stipend for each alligator captured. They work under contract with the FWC and are not state employees."

Seminole County police took to Facebook and Twitter to post photos of the large reptile lying on the road as cars maneuvered around it.

On Facebook, the police department's post was shared nearly 1,500 times as of Thursday morning and had received hundreds of comments.

"Thank God that I was not there," wrote one Facebook user. "I would have fainted and had to call an ambulance."

It's not the first time this year that Florida police have had to respond to an alligator crawling across a road. On January 17, state troopers were called to a part of the Interstate 75 highway known as Alligator Alley after a 12-foot gator was spotted at the side of the road.

Officers issued a travel warning, cautioning drivers to be careful around mile 78 where the alligator was found.

Alligator Alley is so named because of the swamps that surround it that are home to many of Florida's 1.3 million alligators, per the FWC.

The large reptiles have inhabited Florida's marshes, swamps, rivers and lakes for centuries and are found in all of the state's 67 counties, the agency added.

Alligators can grow to huge sizes. The Florida state record, said the FWC, for length is held by a male alligator at 14 feet and three-and-a-half inches, while the state record for weight is held by a male that weighed just over 1,000 pounds.

According to the agency, many Florida residents have learned to coexist with alligators but that the potential for conflict always exists. It also points out that many residents seek waterfront homes.

The FWC states: "Remember, never feed an alligator and keep your distance if you see one. Swim only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours. And keep pets on a leash and away from the water."

The FWC operates a Nuisance Alligator Hotline that can be contacted with any concerns about an alligator or alligators.

Update, 5/6/22, 12:06 p.m. ET: This article has been updated to include a statement from an FWC spokesperson.

Alligator
A stock photo shows an alligator in some water in Texas. There are about 1.3 million alligators in Florida, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Cindy Larson/Getty