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Alligator Attacks Canoer

September 16, 2014
from The Tampa Tribune

Andrea Reese won't ever forget her encounter with an alligator last month while canoeing on the Hillsborough River. The scars won't let her.

The Aug. 7 attack was extremely rare, in large part because alligators seldom attack unless they are provoked or are being fed. A Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission investigation released last week said Reese and her friend, Morgan Fusselman, were doing neither. The report concluded the alligator was startled by the two women in the canoe and the bite was defensive.

The women had been enjoying the river's natural beauty for about 45 minutes and were drifting in the canoe with Reese in the front as Fusselman took photos from the back. Reese said she was looking to her right when she heard something break through the water on her left. Immediately after the splash, the alligator bit her left thigh.

She tried to push the alligator's mouth off her thigh with the paddle. But when the alligator let go of her thigh, it immediately bit her calf. Seconds later, the alligator, which Reese said had a third of its body in the canoe, splashed back into the river.

"The whole thing was like 10 seconds," said Reese by phone from Ohio. "It all happened so fast."

Reese said they didn't have food in the canoe and did nothing to provoke the animal. She wonders if the alligator had become accustomed to humans.

Tampa, FL - August 8, 2014

A woman was reportedly attacked Thursday by an alligator at John B. Sargeant Park on the Hillsborough River in Florida.

Initial reports indicate two women visiting from Ohio were canoeing on the Hillsborough River around 1:45 p.m. when a 6-foot gator jumped out of the water and bit one of the women in a thigh and calf. The animal then went back into the water. The other woman called 911.

The victim was taken to Tampa General Hospital with non-life-threatening injures. Trappers are expected to head to the area in an effort to track and capture the offending reptile.

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