A three-legged alligator seen wandering outside of a Florida Topgolf has left online commenters in tears.
A video of the gator was posted to TikTok by Amanda Leigh (@ayeemanda636), who wrote: “Tell me you’re from Florida.” It has amassed over 2 million views and thousands of comments from misty-eyed viewers who thought the video was heartbreaking.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the state of Florida is home to roughly 1.3 million alligators. They tend to dwell in swamps and wetlands; However, encountering one of these formidable reptiles within a populated area is certainly not outside the realm of possibility.
In January, for example, an alligator was found taking a dip in a family’s swimming pool. That same month, another alligator was spotted running across a golf course with a huge fish in its mouth. And in December 2020, a gator was seen lurking outside of a residential storm drain.
If a Floridian encounters an alligator they believe to be dangerous or is a “nuisance” by definition, they should contact the FWC’s Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP) via the commission’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline.
To qualify as a “nuisance,” an alligator must be at least four feet in length and believed to pose a threat to people, pets or property. Trappers will also be sent to remove smaller alligators found “in places that are not acceptable.”
“SNAP uses contracted nuisance alligator trappers throughout the state to remove alligators from locations where they are unwanted or unwelcome,” said the FWC. “If a complaint meets the qualifying criteria, SNAP will issue a permit to a contracted nuisance alligator trapper authorizing the removal of the animal.”
The Three-Legged Gator
In the comments section of her post, Leigh said she contacted a friend with FWC about the gator found wandering outside the Topgolf, but she did not say whether or not the gator was removed.
“Tell me this is not the most Florida f**king s**t you’ve ever seen,” Leigh said in her video as she approached the three-legged gator attempting to cross the road. “We’re just trying to pull into Topgolf, bro.”
As she pulled up closer to the gator, it turned slowly around and headed toward the sidewalk.
“You wanna go whack some golf balls?” Leigh asked the gator.
The reptile ignored Leigh’s advances and continued toward the sidewalk, and upon noticing it was missing a leg, Leigh said: “Oh, you only have three legs…that’s actually heartbreaking. Now I feel bad for taking a video of you, dude .”
Many viewers agreed that the video was heartbreaking.
“It’s not even that he has three legs, it’s that he hits [his] face when he walks…I’m crying,” yes michelle said.
“The instant empathy for this gator I am cryinggggg,” little uzi wrote.
“The way he limped away made me wanna cry,” anvi commented.
In response to viewers’ concerns, a TikToker named John DeMayo said the gator, who he’s named “Three Feet Pete,” lives in a nearby pond.
“I fish [at] that pond in front of Topgolf [and] he has been in there a while,” DeMayo said. “He is a calm gator too! The first time I met him he didn’t hiss or show aggression at all just let me fish and ate almost everything I threw back.”
Newsweek has reached out to Amanda Leigh for comment.