Infamous 12-Foot Florida Alligator That Terrorized Paddleboarders Has Been Killed

An infamous 12-foot alligator that was seen terrorizing a paddleboarder in a viral video has been killed, wildlife officials said.

The alligator, which lived in Silver Springs State Park in Florida, was known for displaying threatening behavior ever since a video from September showed him getting dangerously close to a woman.

In the video, Vicki Baker can be heard telling the alligator to "go away" as it gets closer and closer to her paddleboard. Baker, who had been enjoying a day off in the park, curses loudly and can be seen pushing the alligator away with her paddle as the reptile hisses loudly in response.

The woman later said the alligator had tried to bite her paddleboard, despite not being provoked. The video went viral and was shared widely across social media and news outlets.

The alligator was shot in the head in February by officials contracted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, local television station Fox 35 reported.

'Dangerous' Behavior

A spokesperson for the Commission, Tammy Sapp, confirmed to Fox 35 that the alligator had been the same one in the viral video. A wildlife agency spokesperson Chad Weber said there was "nothing out of the ordinary" that caused the alligator to be killed, but its behavior was "becoming dangerous," the news outlet reported.

There are 1.3 million alligators in Florida. Despite being fierce predators, unprovoked alligator attacks on humans are extremely rare. They will only usually display menacing behavior if they feel their territory is threatened.

The Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program allows wildlife officials to gain a permit for euthanizing the animals if they begin to pose a threat to the public.

Following the viral encounter, wildlife experts suspected people had been illegally feeding the gator while out on the water, leading it to associate paddlers with food. Silver Springs State Park is a popular spot for paddling, but swimming is prohibited.

A witness to the shooting, Brady Toensing, saw boats pass the alligator on February 22 and heard a single gunshot, CBS4 reported.

Toensing told CBS4: "It was sad, but these guys are just doing their jobs. This alligator's fate was set when people decided to start feeding it."

Baker declined to comment on the reptile's death, Fox35 reported. After the video went viral, she said she was harassed online by people believing she had fed or provoked the animal. In an interview in September, she said she did not want the alligator harmed even though it displayed aggressive behavior.

Following the viral encounter, Fox35 reported that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Wildlife Conservation Commission had launched an investigation into the animal. It isn't clear whether there were any other dangerous encounters involving the gator.

Alligator
A file photo shows an alligator lurking in the water. A viral video showed an alligator getting closer and closer to a woman. Art Sublimina Photography/Getty Images