For those who are wondering: yes, this massive Naples gator is real. The video is not fake and was filmed on November 11 during Tropical Storm Eta.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Naples Gator Crossed the Golf Course During Tropical Storm Eta
— Matt Devitt (@MattDevittWINK) November 12, 2020
This massive alligator might look like something out of Jurassic Park, but it’s very real in the year 2020. The gator was videotaped walking across a golf course in Naples on Wednesday morning, by golf professional Tyler Stolting.
Storting told the Tampa Bay Times that the gator was without a doubt real. Stolting works at Valencia Golf and Country Club and saw the gator walking past the 17th tee at around 2 p.m. local time. “Once I got closer it definitely was a shock,” he said. Stolting said he’s seen other alligators walking through the course in the past, but none have come close to the size of this one.
He chose not to call the police or animal control, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Instead, he watched the Naples gator slip into the water.
The Naples Gator Has Gone Viral, With Many Expressing Shock at its Size
The gator in Naples will forever haunt my dreams. It’s MASSIVE!!! 🐊 pic.twitter.com/5uAAJZujdw
— David Vasquez 💭 (@TheRealDav1D) November 12, 2020
The Naples gator may have strolled across an empty stretch of green, but it didn’t take long for video of this event to go viral around the world. Thousands have expressed sheer disbelief that a creature like this could exist.
“I thought the photos were fake…” one person tweeted.
“Pretty sure he’s a famous gator now. Al is 10 feet long and taking a stroll in Naples!” Another person tweeted.
The 2020 Hurricane Season Has Been the Most Active on Record & It’s Not Over
Tropical Storm Eta made landfall near Tampa Bay on Thursday morning, November 12, according to CBS News, bringing high winds and flood-inducing rain. The outlet reported that the storm surge caused “some lanes of Tampa Bay bridges” to be closed for a short time, as well as schools and the Tampa International Airport.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported on November 10 that with the formation of Subtropical Storm Theta that day, the 2020 hurricane season became “the most active on record,” with 29 named storms. Official records go all the way back to 1851, according to the NOAA, and the previous record of 28 storms came in 2005.
“After the historic Atlantic hurricane season of 2005, it’s remarkable to have another season during my career that would reach this extreme level of activity,” said Louis W. Uccellini, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “NOAA’s sustained investment in computer forecast models, technology, observing systems and our skilled workforce have paid off over the last 15 years, with exponentially improved hurricane forecasts.”
The season began early when a storm formed on May 16 and officially ends November 30, but according to NOAA “additional storms could develop beyond that date.”