NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. - A neighborhood in Nassau County is on high alert due to alligators living in a pond behind homes.
On Monday, News4Jax spotted two alligators, one about 6 feet long and another about 3 feet long, in the large pond in the Amelia Walk subdivision, just off of Amelia Concourse.
One woman who lives in the neighborhood said she's not letting her children play outside because she fears the larger alligator will act aggressively. She said she thinks people have been feeding the gator because it moves toward her dog and children as soon as they go outside.
It’s another example of alligators coming too close to people, such as the two that were recently seen in north St. Johns County.
Earlier this month, a woman was killed by an alligator in South Florida.
In June 2016, the body of a 2-year-old boy was found after the toddler was dragged by an alligator into a lagoon near the upscale Grand Floridian Resort & Spa at Walt Disney World.
Now, the large alligator is making Amelia Walk residents uncomfortable. Homeowners said they want the reptile gone.
"There are a lot of kids, dogs. It’s a concern," said Genevieve Avino, who lives on the pond. "I have grandchildren who come and visit and like to fish in this pond, catch and release, and I don’t think they can do that. I certainly wouldn't send them back there."
Neighbor Julius Finney named the smaller alligator Pogo. He said that gator doesn't bother him, but he was worried after learning of the second, larger gator.
"I don’t like that. It’s too big," Finney said. "(The) small size eats frogs and fish. But large enough -- I know you hear my neighbors’ dog in the background. When you’re large enough to eat that, you’re too large."
So what should you do if you have a nuisance gator near your home?
News4Jax spoke with Bob Shoemaker, a former alligator trapper. He said when he hears that an alligator, such as the 6-foot-long one, is approaching children and dogs, he thinks someone must have fed it.
"Usually, alligators will pop up to see who you are and what you are and, if you’re a person, they usually stay away," Shoemaker said. "But if they’ve been fed, they see a person, so they see food. It’s automatic. The first time you feed an alligator, it’s over."
Whether you see an alligator or not, Shoemaker said, do not let dogs or children get close to a pond, because there is likely an alligator in it even if it's not visible at the time.
Nassau County neighbors have called a trapper and, at last check, the larger gator has not been caught. The trapper said he would return Monday evening to leave bait for the gator.
Once the trapper gets the alligator, the law states any alligator less than 4 feet long must be moved to a habitat away from people. If the alligator is more than 4 feet long, it must be put down.
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