PALM HARBOR, Fla. - Beside a busy Palm Harbor parkway near Tampa Road, there is an equally busy office park. Nestled behind the buildings, to balance the rush, are several quiet ponds.
Beyond one of ponds is a window. It's the window to Yalcin Ekren's physical therapy office.
"Feel that stretch?" Ekren said. "Much better."
The window allows patients a relaxing view most of the time. Every once in a while, the view changes, like the time a 10-foot gator walked by.
"This alligator was big," Ekren said. "I did not come out from the building."
Tuesday morning, it's possible Pinellas County deputies crossed paths with the same gator. Estimated at about 10-feet long, a woman spotted it while driving by the office parking lot at 5:45.
She told dispatchers it was snapping at cars, so Deputy Jeffrey Crandall used a rope and tape to trap it.
It was his second gator-wrangling as a Pinellas County deputy.
"I have older clients come in. They barely walk," Ekren said. "If they saw the alligator, they cannot run away."
Ekren is relieved the gator is gone from his pond, but admits, the reptiles have fewer places to go with all the new development.
Some neighbors even enjoy them.
"I was shocked because I've never seen one that big around here," Kelly Lugo said.
Lugo works at a dermatology office beside another one of the ponds. She and her colleagues often see small gators wading nearby. A take cover in shade under parked cars.
"We've never had any problems with them," Lugo said. "They've never caused us any problems."
So, Lugo says, 10-feet or not, what happened Tuesday morning makes her colleagues a little sad.
Because of this one's size and aggressive behavior, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission handed it over to a trapper who will now process it for its meat and hide.
Though several of its friends remain, Lugo says, the ponds feel just a little bit empty.
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