Alligators spotted in two separate restaurant parking lots this week

Alligator floating in green swamp
Photo: DEA / F. BARBAGALLO / DeAgostini (Getty Images)

Sometimes, I’m jolted from a deep, dreamless sleep as I remember that alligators are a thing. They’re just out here, hanging out in swamps and mini golf courses, shimmying freely as the rest of us watch in horror. I know they’re an important part of swampland ecosystems, but dang, those guys are scary. And this week, we’ve heard of not one, but two alligator encounters at U.S. dining establishments.


Food & Wine reported on the first incident, which took place at a Wendy’s in Lehigh Acres, Florida. According to the Lee County Sheriff’s Department, the seven-foot gator “chased pedestrians through a Wendy’s parking lot” on Monday afternoon. “He may have just been ‘hangry’ for a cheeseburger, but he gave many quite the scare,” the Sheriff’s Department tweeted. God! No! No, sir!

Local news source WFLA reported that the cops and a “nuisance alligator trapper” (cool job) from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission eventually trapped the alligator across the street from the Wendy’s. The alligator has since been spirited away to an alligator farm, where he’ll live out the rest of his days with his terrifying brethren.

The second incident took place yesterday. East Texas news station KLTV reported that an 8-foot-long alligator showed up at the Jucy’s Taco location in Henderson, Texas. KLTV reported that the gator slithered out of Willow Creek Lake, which is located behind the business, and proceeded to loiter casually in the taco joint’s parking lot. The local game warden told KLTV that he wrangled the gator with the help of a few Henderson police officers, transporting the scaly dude to a slough located along the Sabine River bottom.

Glad to hear both of the gators were transported to more appropriate hangout spots. The only question that remains: do these events indicate some sort of larger alligator collusion? Did the nation’s gators put their heads together and plan a series of fast food heists? Stay vigilant, citizens.

Staff writer @ The Takeout, joke writer elsewhere. Wrangling dogs and pork shoulder in Chicago.


TampaBabaYaga 2021 Edition

Don’t worry Lillian, as someone who occasionally has them in her backyard, the only thing this indicates is that it is mating season and just like the cicadas up north, these gnarly dudes are horny. Also that we’ve spent years encroaching on their territory. Also likely, if people had spotted them around these food establishments, they might find it amusing to ‘feed’ the gators. Which is a terrible no no because then gators lose their fear of people (not that they have much of that) but even worse, they start associating people with being a source of easy to get food.