Alligator bites elderly woman at Cypress Gardens

MONCKS CORNER, SC (WCSC) - By Sheldon Dutes  bio | email | Twitter

MONCKS CORNER, SC (WCSC) - An elderly woman is recovering after she was bitten by an alligator at Cypress Gardens. It happened Monday afternoon around 3 p.m.

"It was a plain and simple frightening encounter for both of them. The alligator was just as scared as the lady was," said Russ Monnet of the Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division.

According to Monnet, the victim isn't sure whether she stepped on the alligator or not.

"All [the alligator] did was swing and strike at her leg. He did not grab her. She had a single puncture wound to the leg and single puncture wound to her arm," Monnet said.

During the apparent struggle, the woman's husband kicked at the alligator and startled it back in to the water.

While the victim was at the hospital being treated for her minor injuries, DNR tried to track down the alligator.

"It's no where to be found. I'm sure the alligator is scared to death and he's hiding and there's plenty of spaces in his natural habitat for him to hide," Monnet said.

Dwight Williams, the Director at Cypress Gardens, says they warn their guests to be careful around the park's wildlife.

He also said incidents like this one are rare. "Berkeley County took over operations of the gardens in 1996. Since then, we've never had an alligator incident," said Williams.

If you come across an alligator experts say the best way to protect yourself is to leave it alone.

"People don't realize that this is where they live, and you're walking in their home so you've got to be more mindful of where you're walking," Monnet said.

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