Giant gator takes a stroll on Manatee County golf course
Buffalo Creek Golf Course’s giant alligator is back.
Pope Golf, which manages the course in the Parrish and Palmetto area, posted a video on its Facebook page of the gator slowly walking with multiple vultures following along.
Buffalo Creek general manager Ryan Henderson said a maintenance worker took the video, which had 1,100 views as of Thursday afternoon.
“It’s the same gator that’s been out here for 25 years,” Henderson said.
In 2016, the 15-foot alligator that was later named “Chubbs,” was spotted. with golfer Charlie Helms’ video going viral on social media.
Buffalo Creek later fielded phone calls from as far away as Australia and Japan.
Former Buffalo Creek general manager Ken Powell originally dubbed the gator the “Boss of the Moss,” before there was a fan vote conducted on social media to determine his name.
Henderson, who held a different position with Pope Golf at the time, said the media buzz likely created more interest for golfers to play the course.
But following that 2016 sighting, Chubbs wasn’t visible much until golfers and staff started seeing him last September and October.
That led to Wednesday’s video of Chubbs on the eighth hole.
“He’s very slow moving,” Henderson said. “He doesn’t go very far before he has to stop and take a breather.”
Henderson added: “That video was top speed.”
There’s a plaque for the gator on the third hole, which has a lake to the left of the tee box.
There is also water to the right of the tee box that separates the third hole from where the eighth hole’s tee box is located.
So what do you do when encountering Chubbs or any alligator?
“Alligators are in all 67 counties,” Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission public information coordinator Melody Kilborn said. “So you have a chance of encountering one in any fresh, brackish and sometimes, for short periods of times, saltwater.
“So we always recommend you being aware of your surroundings, to keep a safe distance from any alligators you might see and we also have the dawn and dusk information that we give. Alligators tend to be a little more active near dawn and dusk.”
Kilborn said alligators move slower on land than in the water, and a 15-foot alligator will move slower on land than a smaller-sized one.
Still, keeping a safe distance is the best course of action.
“I still wouldn’t get too close,” Henderson said.
While it was estimated at 15 feet in length in 2016, Kilborn said it is doubtful the large gator is more than 14 feet.
“There are no official measurements of a 15-foot alligator,” Kilborn said in an email.