COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — He's got his eyes on the road.
And, in this case, Florida troopers aren't thrilled about it.
A 12-foot alligator was spotted chilling on the side of I-75 Monday afternoon in Collier County. The big guy could be seen laying in the grass on the side of the interstate as the sun beamed down. His massive jaw sat positioned on the shoulder of the roadway. With his mouth closed, his teeth were hidden.
There could be no question that his eyes were gazing out at the traffic that was flying by. It remained, however, only a guess whether the cold-blooded reptile was hoping to hitch a ride.
Florida Highway Patrol said it was trying to keep the large gator out of the traffic lanes near mile marker 78 – which, of course, sits in the aptly-named Alligator Alley.
"Please drive cautiously," FHP's Troop F tweeted.
American alligators are found in all of our state's 67 counties and rarely injure humans. Females are usually 10 feet long or smaller, but males can get larger – significantly larger.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the state length record belongs to a 14-foot, 3.5-inch male that was in Lake Washington in Brevard County.
The heaviest gator ever recorded in Florida was a 1,043-pound male in Orange Lake in Alachua County, FWC said. That male was 13 feet, 10.5 inches long.
Gators are rarely found in salt water. Florida says they normally prefer fresh water lakes or slow-moving rivers and wetlands. Sometimes, you will see them in brackish habitats.
Their mating season is usually considered May-June.