An alligator was spotted in a Florida lake with a human corpse in its jaws (video below). Hunters and local authorities are now trying to track the animal down for testing.
Around 1:40 p.m. on June 7, a resident at Florida Presbyterian Homes, a senior living community located near Lake Hunter in Lakeland, Florida, called police to report seeing an alligator in the lake with what appeared to be a human body in its mouth, WFLA reported.
When officers responded to the scene, they saw the 8-foot-long reptile holding the body in its jaws, according to the Daily Mail.
"The officers got here and the alligator still had the person," Sgt. Gary Gross of the Lakeland Police Department told WFLA. "He let the individual go, he is deceased, looks like this person may have been dead more than a day."
The alligator reportedly rolled over in the water with the body in its mouth before releasing the corpse and swimming away. Police were then able to pull the body from the lake.
"The officers immediately got their firearms out in case the gator comes up," Gross said. "Once he left they didn’t want him coming back and pull the body back out. That did not happen."
Police do not know whether the deceased individual, an adult male, was killed by the alligator or had already been dead when the animal happened upon his corpse.
They are currently trying to identify the body and determine the cause of death.
After police recovered the body, officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, as well as a state alligator trapper, tried to capture the gator so that police could see if there were any human parts in its stomach.
The trapper, who arrived at the lake around 3 p.m. that day, searched the water but was not able to find the animal, according to WFLA. He returned to shore around 4:25 p.m. to set up a buoy with bait but was not able to find and hook the gator by hand. As of June 8, the gator has not been captured.
This is not the first time a Florida alligator has been found in contact with a dead body.
On May 30, fishermen came across two alligators chewing the remains of a human corpse in a canal in southern Florida, according to the Daily Mail. Police believed the body had been in the canal for several days but did not say how the person died. They were not able to identify the victim.