A 23-year-old man lost his arm after he was attacked by an alligator near a pond behind a southwest Florida bar early Sunday morning, officials said.
“The responding team treated a male patient who had an above-elbow amputation of his upper right extremity. Bystanders placed a gag on the patient before we arrived,” Charlotte County Fire & EMS spokesman Todd Dunn said in a statement.
An alligator catcher was later sent to the scene of the attack near Banditos, a bar in Port Charlotte, Florida, authorities said.
An alligator that was 10 feet, five inches long was removed from the pond and “humanely killed,” according to a release from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Serious injuries caused by alligators are rare in the state, the wildlife agency said.
The agency said it “places the highest priority on public safety” and warned people to avoid conflict with alligators by keeping a safe distance and swimming only in designated areas during daylight hours.
People should also never feed alligators, it said.
“When fed, alligators can lose their natural wariness and instead learn to associate humans with the availability of food. This can lead to dangerous circumstances for yourself and other people who may encounter the alligator in the future,” the agency said .
In addition, the agency advises residents to keep their pets on a leash and away from the water’s edge because the animals can appear as alligator prey.
Through its Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission contracts alligator catchers throughout the state to remove alligators that may pose a threat. Residents can call a hotline to report concerns about the animals.
“Generally, an alligator can be considered a nuisance if it is at least 4 feet long and is believed to pose a threat to people, pets or property,” the agency’s website states.
The program aims to “proactively address alligator threats in developed areas while conserving alligators in areas where they naturally occur,” according to the website.
The community of Port Charlotte is about 45 miles north of Fort Myers.