Investigation continues after mutilated gator found in Palm Bay

Alligator found without head, tail, officials say

PALM BAY, Fla. – A second alligator poaching this year is being investigated by state wildlife officials in Brevard County.

The diminished size of an alligator Tuesday night missing a head and a tail, at first look, fooled Pace Drive neighbor Lee Rivera.

"It was pretty dark so I couldn't see exactly what was in the road. To me, from here, it kind of looked like maybe a duffel bag or some type of object in that size," Rivera said, describing how she remembered seeing the mutilated gator.

[RELATED: Decapitated gator found in Palm Bay streetWhat you need to know about alligator laws in Florida]

Rivera watched as drivers stopped, took pictures and, like he did, found the image disturbing.

"Little strange, you know, that somebody would do that. Little disturbing," Rivera said. 

Neighbors and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found it odd that the gator was not dumped in a more hidden environment.

Officer Chad Weber said poachers typically take a gator's head for a trophy and its tail for the meat.

"As it gets warmer in the state of Florida, alligators get more active, maybe they're easier to catch, but people who break the law and poach, they'll find a way to do it and it's our job to catch them and bring them to justice," Weber said.

The FWC is also still trying to make an arrest in another Brevard County gator poaching.

In April, a 10-foot gator off Timbers West Boulevard in Rockledge was also missing its head and tail.

Weber said the FWC is still following leads and trying to track down more information.

Pace Drive neighbor Joyce Jordan thinks the poaching is awful.

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"The fact that they just left the poor thing there to rot," Jordan asked. "I mean, why would you do that?" 

Another Pace Drive neighbor said his surveillance cameras captured the act Tuesday night.

That neighbor said he turned his video over to the FWC.

Anyone with any information about either of the unsolved cases can call the FWC's wildlife alert hotline at 888-404-FWCC and can be anonymous and possibly receive a reward.

About the Author:

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.