‘Monster’ alligator spotted at reserve
FLORIDA'S famous alligator named "Chubbs" may have some competition after this latest find near a US golf course.
A "monster" alligator - dubbed "Fabio" - has been turning heads after it was spotted strolling around a park in Polk County, Florida.
The alligator, which many witnesses claim to be at least 4m long, has gone viral ever since South Carolina woman, Suzy Griffin Paul, released a short video of two alligators crossing a path just metres away from her.
She had been at Circle B Bar Reserve, a protected area more than 1260 acres, in Lakeland late last month.
The video shows one alligator in the background, completely overshadowed by the mammoth creature in the foreground.
Ms Paul's clip, lasting roughly 25 seconds, has attracted more than 1.2 million views on Facebook.
"Big Gator at Circle B today!" Ms Paul captioned the video.
It drew nearly 20,000 reactions and more than 2000 comments from shocked viewers.
Many agreed, the alligator was quite a sight.
One Facebook user commented: "OMG I saw this! That thing is a monster."
"That thing is a dinosaur!" another echoed.
"Gator? That's a creature from hell," one user added.
"Ummm … yeah two words "RUN AWAY!" He looks like he just ate a family of six … RUN!" a woman advised.
Ms Paul said she first noticed the giant gator as it swam alongside a path she was walking on with her husband.
"This huge gator that they call Fabio swims right up and stops in front of us in the water and we realise he wants to cross the path," Ms Paul told news channel WTSP.
"So we all back up away and give him space."
Ms Paul patiently waited as the gator exited the marsh, pulling out her phone to capture footage of the unbelievable view.
"He was really big and it was an exciting thing to watch. It was our first time getting to see a gator actually cross the path at Circle B," she said.
The southern US state is no stranger to large gators.
There are about 1.2 million alligators living in the state, according to Washington DC-based non-profit organisation Defenders of Wildlife.
But, the group notes, the population of the large crocodilian reptile has been shifting northward in recent years.
"Unlike the crocodile, the alligator has a broad head. The alligator uses its powerful tail to propel itself through water. The tail accounts for half the alligator's length," Defenders said on its website.
"While alligators move very quickly in water they are generally slow-moving on land. They can, however, move quickly for short distances."
This story originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission