A MAN has been bitten by a seven-foot alligator who ripped a chunk from his leg after mistaking the beast for a dog.
The attack happened as the 49-year-old was walking through the gardens of the Warm Mineral Springs Motel in North Port, Florida just before 1am on June 7.
Cops said he saw a shadowy figure in the bushes and instantly thought it was a dog on a long lead.
Officers said that was the reason why he didn’t immediately flee the scene, Fox13 reports.
Sarasota County cops said the alligator bit the man’s right leg and the beast “pulled his muscle/tissue”.
Officers said the man felt the gator ripping a chunk off his leg, WFTS reported.
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He was taken to the Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Venice where he was treated.
The man has been released from hospital.
Meanwhile, the large beast was removed from the motel by a trapper, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials.
The FWC has revealed there have only been 26 deadly gator attacks in the Sunshine State since officials started tracking them in 1948.
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Meanwhile, there have been 303 major attacks and 139 minor attacks.
The FWC defines a major attack as an incident where the victim required medical assistance beyond first aid measures.
And, the state has not seen a deadly incident since 2019, according to data from November 2021.
The attack comes just months after a huge 20-foot cannibal alligator was caught on camera chomping down on its love rival on a Florida golf course.
The viral clip, initially uploaded by Lakeland resident Julie Marchillo Smith, was shared by the Everglades Holiday Park.
Experts say that the mating season begins between May and June and warn that cannibal male alligators may get aggressive and kill smaller rivals.
Coleman M Sheehy III, of the Florida Museum of Natural History, told Newsweek that the male beast’s behavior was “totally normal”.
And, we reported how a human arm was found in an alligator’s mouth in Martin County.
The remains belonged to 42-year-old Dustin Davis Mills, of St Lucie County.
Cops managed to identify the body parts using fingerprints from Mills’ hand which was found near a large alligator.
A biologist on routine patrol spotted the gator with the arm in its mouth and cops allegedly found additional human remains about a mile away.
In December, an alligator devoured a huge python in the Everglades.
Pythons are invasive creatures in the Everglades as the large snakes have been blamed for creating havoc in the ecosystem.
Officials at the South Florida Wildlands Association said: "This generally doesn’t happen. For a gator to eat prey this big he/she has to tear it into bite-sized pieces – and a python doesn’t tear easily."
Alligators are known for living in Florida because of the Everglades and the state’s swampy marshes.
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The chances of being attacked by the predator are one in about 3.2million.
American alligators tend to live between 30 and 50 years.
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