PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. - People are trying to make sense of the tragedy near a Walt Disney World resort this week where a toddler was grabbed by an alligator and dragged into the water. Investigators said Thursday that Lane Graves died from drowning.
Jason Clark, an alligator trapper in Georgia, said that if the gator was four to seven feet long, the 2-year-old boy and his family may have never had a chance. Clark said those gators are his least favorite due to a mixture of dangers.
“They are just big enough where they can hurt you. And they are very quick,” said Clark, who is with the Southeastern Reptile Rescue.
Clark said he was very familiar with the Seven Seas Lagoon on the Disney property from his own vacations there. He said the man-made lake is connected to outside waterways.
“It's the perfect habitat for the American alligator,” he said.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources recently hired Jason Clark to trap and relocate a 6-foot alligator in a Peachtree City creek. That hunt continues and Clark said an even larger one, a ten-footer is also nearby.
He said alligators are nocturnal, feed near the shoreline and prey on small animals. They are attracted by the splashing water. It may have been that tragic combination which might have contributed to death of the Nebraska toddler.
“Even a much larger one than the one we are talking about can conceal itself it 12 inches of water,” Clark said.
Searchers found the toddler’s body about 15 feet from where his parents said an alligator attacked him as he waded into the lake. Authorities said his body was intact.
Clark said alligators will drown their victims, especially larger prey. He believes this one was probably frightened away by the commotion it caused.
The alligator population is growing in Georgia, especially in the south portion of the state. Clark said people should be aware of this and pay attention to the surroundings when near a body of water.
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