Florida of the Day Stranger than Fiction Tampa Bay

Florida of the day: Alligator bites face of man searching lake for free frisbees

“Supposedly he was in the water up to his waist and he was looking for Frisbees when the gator took notice of him,” said Largo police spokesman Lt. Scott Gore in a Tampa Bay Times article titled “Alligator bites man’s face at Largo park”. The person in question is Travis Spitzer, was wading into the lake in middle of Largo’s Taylor Parkat 5 in the morning, looking for lost frisbees.

I should first correct myself. He was looking for discs. If you know anyone who plays disc golf, “Ultimate,” or any form of the game, you know not to use the term “frisbee” in their presence unless you want to set yourself up for a half-hour ultra pedantic lecture on how discs are not frisbees. Take it from me: it’s a half-hour of your life that you’ll never get back.

Taylor Park disc golf course. Photo by Megan Hoffman. Tap to see the source.

Taylor Park has a disc golf course that borders Tylor Lake in the center of the park, which is pictured above. Also pictured above is a sign warning you about alligators in the lake. The sign is actually intended for people new to Florida; if you’ve been here long enough, you’ve probably internalized the assumption that there’s a gator in any body of fresh water, natural or artificial.

From the Tampa Bay Times:

Police did not know how big the alligator was, but Gore said Spitzer used his left hand to pry the animal off. He was transferred to a hospital with injuries to his hand and face.

Police said he is expected to survive the bite.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Tampa office responded to the scene and is investigating.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • The fact that it was 5 in the morning means that he wasn’t playing disc golf, but just prospecting for lost discs.
  • In case you were wondering if they were expensive, you should know that you can get disc golf discs for less than $20 each.
  • Alligators are most active from dusk until dawn, so it was at the tail end of their active period.
  • Alligators are more active than usual during mating season, which runs from April through to the end of June. Spitzer may have butted in on some gator’s sexytime.

In short: Standard Florida Man operating procedure — high risk, low reward, questionable judgement.

To give you some sense of where this all took place relative to Yours Truly, here’s a map:

Tap the map to see it at full size.

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