Family keeps finding alligators with snouts, eyes taped shut near Wekiva Island

Gatorland helps increase reward to $1,500

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – The reward for information about alligators found in Seminole County with duct tape over their snouts and eyes now stands at $1,500.

Gatorland, an Orlando attraction, told News 6 on Wednesday that it has added $1,000 to the reward, which started when community members near Wekiva Island offered $500 in an effort to find the culprit.

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Barbara and Jack Thornton said they recently took pictures as a gator swam near the shore in their backyard.

“I look down and I saw a 6-foot gator it looked like, and its mouth and its eyes were taped with black duct tape,” Barbara Thornton said. “Somebody is taping the mouths. Someone is taping the eyes.”

Community members near Wekiva Island are offering a $500 reward for information after residents said an alligator was found bound by tape. (WKMG)

The Thorntons said they called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which removed the alligator from the water.

“The FWC ranger did say that the gator looked healthy, so we think it was fairly recently,” Barbara Thornton said.

Jack Thornton said that this is not the first time an alligator has been spotted nearby, constricted by tape.

“This is the third gator that has been found like this. So, there was another one a month ago. There was another one back there on the spring’s side about a year ago. I don’t know who’s doing this,” Jack Thornton said. “It is exceptionally cruel. It’s either motivated by sadism or pure incompetence without regard for motivation. It’s a behavior that needs to be corrected.”

Anyone who knows anything about the incident is urged to call FWC.

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About the Author:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.