A Sarasota man was bitten by an alligator on Wednesday afternoon in Manatee County – the second attack in the area in just days.
Eric Merda, 43, was near Lake Manatee Fish Camp at 23745 County Road 675 in Myakka City at 5:30 p.m. when he was bitten by an alligator, according to a written statement from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
FWC received the call of the attack and responded, along with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and Manatee County EMS.
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Merda was taken to hospital for treatment of a serious arm injury, an FWC representative said in a written statement.
Gary Sharpe unloads his boat to fish regularly at Lake Manatee Fish Camp. He said he has only seen smaller alligators measuring 3 to 4 feet in the area, but incidents with alligators are not uncommon.
“We’re in their neighborhood, so we expect to see them,” Sharpe said. “If we didn’t see them, it would be a strange thing.”
As a longtime Florida resident, Sharpe said alligators have always been a variable to consider, but he’s not going after them.
“Leave them alone, and they’ll leave you alone,” Sharpe said.
FWC is investigating the incident.
This is the second alligator attack in the past week in the area.
The first killed an 80-year-old woman in Englewood. The body of Rose Wiegand, 80, was found in a pond at Boca Royale Golf and County Club late Friday night. She was seen falling into the pond alongside the golf course near her home and struggling to stay afloat, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.
Two alligators, one 8ft 10in and the other 7ft 7in, were pulled from the pond shortly after the incident.