Golfers gawk at massive Bay-area golf course gator

The lure of giant gator

PALMETTO, Fla. -- A massive gator is gaining attention at a bay area golf course. The gator first made headlines over the summer when a golfer posted a video on YouTube. Some golfers drive long distances to play at Buffalo Creek Golf Course in hopes of catching a glimpse of the alligator.

 Golfers who’ve seen him say, “He is big… his head is that big. He’s unbelievable,” says Dave Staples is a regular at Buffalo Creek Golf Course. Staples says he has seen the star resident a handful of times

Staples says, “He comes out of the bushes. He is huge! Walks 10-15 feet, flops to rest, that’s how big he is.”

 Some call him Chubs the giant 15-foot gator, and now he has a following.

“We came to golf. Hopefully, we see the monster out there,” says Lenny Goines.

Kyle Jones adds, “I even brought my camera just in case.”

Goins says, “We want to get a photo.” Get a selfie? He says. “Yeah in the cart from the cart.”

 Kyle Jones and Lenny Goins drove from St. Petersburg with a plan. “Get as close as possible, good shots on my camera and rub it in to the family in Texas,” says Jones. Goins responds, “I’ll be in the cart…safe distance.”

While gators like Chubs are active during the summer which is mating season, there’s a good chance of seeing them during cooler weather too. Chubs was recently spotted.

“These cooler nights, they have to come out get warm in the sunlight the next day otherwise they’re not mobile to digest food properly,” says Damen Hurd, VP of Wildlife, Inc., at Mixon Fruit Farms.

Gators half Chubs' size run faster up to 15 miles per hour.  But Hurd says the at about 60 years old the big guy can still move.

“They can still move quickly when they want to definitely don’t get near one especially that size…no defending yourself against something that size,” says Hurd.

 Staples says, “I say he’s the boss!” Golfers say “Chubs” rules on the course and in the water.

“In the lake, he’s the only one you see in it,” says Staples. He says all the other gators are in another pond.

Staples says, “You don’t mess with him. Let him do his thing. When he’s gone you go.”

Our wildlife expert says to keep a safe distance from a gator---at least 20 feet away. 

If chased run in a straight line...don't zig-zag.

And remember don't touch or feed a gator.  Besides it's illegal and it's not safe---for you or the gator---if fed it will lose its fear of humans and be euthanized.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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