An unusual occurrence had beach goers a bit startled June 16, 2013 at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park.
A 2 1/2 ft. long young alligator was struggling just offshore when park ranger Tammy Matthews got a phone call.
“I was driving the tram and got a report of an alligator on the beach. When I got there, some visitors told me that he kept trying to come ashore, then someone would run over to look and spook him back out. It was apparent he was getting exhausted. So, with the help of a camper and his net, we captured him and released him into the closest dune lake, No-name Lake,” said Matthews.
Normally a fresh or brackish water species, alligators are a fundamental part of Florida’s wetlands, swamps, rivers and lakes, and they are found in all 67 counties.