JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Drone video captured a 5-foot-long alligator swimming in the pond at Colonial Manor Lake Park in the Miramar neighborhood near San Marco.
The video was recorded by Roli Selfors, who lives next to the pond along San Jose Boulevard, which is also known as the "Duck Pond." Selfors said the gator was first spotted several months ago, but it left around the time trappers were called out to capture it.
But Selfors and his neighbors said the gator recently returned and they're worried about the safety of children and small pets.
“I’m coming from a county that doesn’t have gators so, for me, it’s a completely new situation to have a gator that close," Selfors told News4Jax on Tuesday.
Neighbors said they have seen the gator at night in an area of the pond where the water is high enough to allow the gator to come out onto the grass.
The area is close to where Lawrence Walton said he periodically sets up a lawn chair and listens to music on his headphones while stretching his feet on the edge of the pond.
“I had no idea an alligator was out there. I’m glad you told me," Walton said. "I don’t care how big it is. I got to move back a little further.”
Neighbors are warning park visitors to be careful, especially if they walk their dogs next to the pond or allow their children to play close to the water.
“If we didn’t know there was a gator, we’d probably bring the kids right up to the lake," neighbor Melissa Bateh said. "Scary.”
According to the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Science, people can avoid potentially dangerous encounters with alligators by simply leaving them alone and not feeding them. Other tips include paying attention to your surroundings and paying close attention to pets and children.