A 23-year-old man lost his arm after he was attacked by an alligator near a pond behind a bar in southwest Florida early Sunday morning, officials say.
"The responding crew treated a male patient who had an above the elbow amputation of his upper right extremity. Bystanders applied a tourniquet to the patient before we arrived," Charlotte County Fire & EMS spokesperson Todd Dunn said in a statement.
An alligator trapper was later sent to the scene of the attack near Banditos, a bar in Port Charlotte, Florida, authorities said.
An alligator that was 10 feet and 5 inches long was removed from the pond and "humanely killed," according to a release from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Serious injuries caused by alligators are rare in the state, the wildlife agency said.
The agency said it "places the highest priority on public safety" and cautioned people to avoid conflict with alligators by keeping a safe distance and swimming only in designated areas during daylight hours.
People should also never feed alligators, it said.
"When fed, alligators can lose their natural wariness and instead learn to associate people with the availability of food. This can lead to dangerous circumstances for yourself and other people who could encounter the alligator in the future," the agency said.
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Additionally, the agency advises residents to keep their pets on a leash and away from the water's edge because the animals may appear as prey to alligators.
Through its Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission contracts alligator trappers throughout the state to remove alligators that may pose a threat. Residents may call a hotline to report concerns about the animals.
"Generally, an alligator may be considered a nuisance if it's at least 4 feet in length and believed to pose a threat to people, pets or property," the agency's website states.The program aims to "proactively address alligator threats in developed areas, while conserving alligators in areas where they naturally occur," according to the site. The community of Port Charlotte is about 28 miles north of Fort Myers.
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