The WFLA reported that an alligator was lurking near the Gardner Boat Ramp in Zolvo Springs, Hardy County, around 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
The crocodile bit the teen who was then taken to the hospital. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) told WFLA that she is in stable condition. It is currently not clear where the girl was bitten.
Then a licensed annoying crocodile hunter was sent to the attack area to search for the culprit. A full investigation is underway into the accident.
NEWSWEEK Contact the FWC for comment.
Florida is home to 1.3 million alligators. It can be found in all 67 counties of the state, which is home to more than 21 million people.
The FWC operates a statewide alligator nuisance program, which monitors threats posed by reptiles in developed areas. Alligators may be considered a nuisance if they “are at least 4 feet long and are believed to pose a threat to people, pets, or property,” the FWC says on its website. Annoyed crocodiles are killed by euthanasia and are not moved, as they often try to return to their captivity site.
Despite the state’s abundant crocodile population, attacks are still very rare. Crocodiles, although territorial, usually only attack if provoked.
However there are some exceptions. Some crocodiles may show unwarranted aggressive behavior if they are used to feeding them. This can make them bolder and more likely to approach people.
It is unclear whether the attack on the girl in Florida was unprovoked.
According to the FWC, there are, on average, about seven unprovoked alligator attacks in Florida each year. The number of attacks has increased about 3 percent in recent years, according to a 2016 CNN report.
Sunday’s incident is not the only recent attack.
On July 15, an 80-year-old woman died after being attacked by an alligator on a golf course in Englewood, Florida. USA TODAY mentioned. Less than a week later, just 30 miles away, a 43-year-old man was attacked and treated for serious injuries.
Before that, a man was killed by a suspected crocodile attack on May 31 near the shore of a lake in Largo.
Florida isn’t the only state where alligator attacks happen — a South Carolina man was also killed by an alligator in Myrtle Beach on June 24.
Alligators are usually most active in the summer months, during the mating season.