Alligators on Florida golf courses aren’t really news. But when a local resident captured video of a 16-footer in Palmetto, the internet exploded with coverage.
Charles Helms was on the Buffalo Creek Golf Course when he spotted the giant reptile and started shooting video.
“I was stunned and silent,” Helms told the local ABC affiliate. “I didn’t know if we were being punked or something. … It was just laying down, resting, when it got up and started moving towards the big lake.”
“He doesn’t bother anybody and they don’t bother him, he’s like a mascot for the course,” Wendy Schofield, who works at the course, told local television. “People have heard that he is out here and that is all they want to see so they will bring spectators to ride so somebody can get a picture.”
UPDATE, June 1: Politifact investigated, hoping to determine if this video was real or some kind of hoax. They spoke to the regional manager for Pope Golf, consulted with a professor, and reviewed other videos that purport to be the same alligator. They searched Buffalo Creek Golf Course for the alligator, and although they never found it, they reached a conclusion. Based on their research, the estimated size of the alligator is exaggerated, but the videos are authentic.