Living with Alligators; tips from FWC
School is almost out for the summer in Manatee County, but a new student with four legs and a tail decided to show up for class Wednesday.
In an email to School District of Manatee County board members, district officials reported a 8-foot, 2-inch alligator was found at Palm View Elementary School, 6025 Bayshore Road in Palmetto.
Principal Kaththea Johnson said a custodian walking the grounds before school started Wednesday morning saw the gator and notified her and other school officials immediately.
“We started taking every precaution we could,” Johnson said.
Students had not arrived at the school, so other staff was notified and the line for children being dropped off at school was moved so they would be further away from the area near a playground where the gator was found.
The hallway where the gator was spotted was outdoors and students were able to access classrooms safely through the building. Access to the playground was also closed off, Johnson said.
“Principal Kaththea Johnson and her staff cordoned off the area, called 911 and safely had Florida Wildlife remove the 8-foot, 2-inch gator from campus,” the email stated.
FWC spokeswoman Melody Kilborn said the Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP) received a call reporting the alligator at the school just after 8 a.m. and sent a trapper to the area.
Johnson said the gator never moved from his shaded spot until the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission trapper removed it.
This particular gator was sold live to an alligator farm after it was removed from the school, Kilborn said.
“I just want to emphasize that everyone is safe and I want to thank our school staff, law enforcement and Florida Wildlife for helping us to deal with this unusual event. Thank you for your constant support and we look forward to school tomorrow,” Johnson wrote in a post to the Palm View Elementary School Facebook page.
Those with concerns about a possible nuisance gator can call Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286).
Alligator mating season typically starts with courtship in April and mating occurs through May.
Bradenton Herald reporter Giuseppe Sabella contributed to this report.