A Florida man is in the hospital after losing his leg to an alligator. WESH reports the shocking attack happened on April 14 at an RV park in Brevard County. The gator emerged from a canal at Great Outdoor RV and Golf Resort, a coastal community east of Orlando. The animal bit the 72-year-old man’s right leg hard enough to amputate it from the knee down. 

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) trappers spent two hours searching for the gator after the attack. They shot and killed two gators, including one that reportedly had a human foot sticking out of its mouth. Neighbors in the area of the attack say the incident is rare, but not out of the question this time of year. 

“Basically, it’s an area where the gators lay on the bank kind of readily. It’s only about 15 feet between the house and the water,” Ron Peoples, who lives at the resort, told WESH. “It’s mating season and [alligators] are hungry. It’s a pretty volatile combination when you put them together. We’re finding them in people’s garages under the cars because they’re going from lake to lake.”

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According to FWC, which manages a nuisance gator program, alligators exist in all Florida counties with an estimated statewide population of 1.3 million. The reptiles are considered recovered so there is a regulated hunting season in addition to the nuisance gator control program. A late 2021 FWC report shows the Sunshine State averages eight unprovoked, damage-inducing alligator bites annually. Since 1948, there have been 26 fatal gator attacks in Florida.