A giant alligator in Florida was killed after being spotted with a lifeless human body in its jaws, police said

An alligator with its mouth open.
Alligators don't dine on humans, but if you enter their territory you might be in trouble.lathuric / Getty Images
  • A huge alligator was seen in Florida with a human corpse in its mouth.

  • The nearly 14-foot-long reptile was killed "humanely" by authorities, and the body was recovered.

  • Authorities are investigating whether the animal killed the person, who is yet to be identified.

A huge alligator was killed after witnesses spotted it in a canal with a lifeless human body in its mouth in a Florida neighborhood, police said.

The nearly 14-foot-long reptile was seen by witness JaMarcus Bullard, who was on his way to a job interview when he saw it by a canal.

"I saw the gator. It appeared to be a body in his mouth, so I started recording," JaMarcus Bullard told  Spectrum Bay News 9.

"I picked up a rock to hit it, it was a lower torso in his mouth. It just like swam backward down into the lower canal."

Bullard said he went down to report the animal to the fire department and showed them the video, and then they called 911.

Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said that the animal was "humanely killed" with the assistance of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Bullard told Spectrum Bay News 9 that he saw emergency services removing the animal from the water and shooting it "a few times."

After the animal was removed, the sheriff's office's dive team recovered the remains of the human body.

An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death. The deceased person is yet to be identified, police said.

Another witness, Jennifer Dean, said that while alligators were often seen in the area, the one she saw at the scene was the biggest she'd ever seen.

The animal was near Ridgecrest Park, outside Tampa, which has a five-acre lake that is known to have alligators in it.

A photo shared by Spectrum Bay News 9 reporter Holly Gregory shows the animal pictured from above next to a pool of blood.

It is unclear if the animal played any role in the person's death.

Unprovoked alligator attacks are sporadic, and fatal ones very rare.

There have been at least two known reports of fatal alligator attacks in Florida this year, and the US generally reports an average of six annually, per AZ Animals.

This month, a Florida hunter said he made the catch of a lifetime when he snared 13 feet 3 ¼ inches alligator weighing 920 pounds.

Correction: September 24, 2023  — An earlier version of this story misstated that the alligator was walking beside the canal. 

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