BRADENTON BEACH, Fla. -- “Probably more likely to get struck by lightning than encounter an alligator on the beach,” said Ed Straight of Wildlife Inc.

Even so, there was an alligator spotted in salt water off Lover’s Key in Estero near Fort Myers. It’s the second one seen on a southwest Florida beach in three weeks. Another gator was seen in Boca Grande near the lighthouse on Monday.

“The most likely scenario is the river was flooded and it was washed down the river, washed out in the to the Gulf of Mexico and found the way back to the beach,” Straight said.

Straight has been rehabilitating wildlife from his Bradenton Beach home for 31 years with his nonprofit group Wildlife Inc. He said alligators can survive in salt water for a time but it’s not where they’re most comfortable.

FWC says alligators become more visible and active during warm weather months and can be found in all 67 counties.

“There's probably more occurrences because the gator population in Florida is increasing,” explained Straight.

Whether it’s on the beach or somewhere else Straight has this simple advice: “Word to the wise: Stay away if you see them.”

If you see an alligator, whether it’s on the beach or your front lawn, call FWC’s hotline 1-866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286)

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