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Alligator bites man’s face at Largo park

The man was looking for flying discs in Taylor Lake when the alligator bit him.
Alligators in Sawgrass Lake in St. Petersburg in 2017. A gator bit a man at a face at a Largo park on Monday morning. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
Alligators in Sawgrass Lake in St. Petersburg in 2017. A gator bit a man at a face at a Largo park on Monday morning. [LARA CERRI | Times]
Published Jun. 15, 2020|Updated May 31

LARGO — A man was bitten in the face by an alligator early Friday morning at John S. Taylor Park, according to the Largo Police Department.

Travis Spitzer was wading into Taylor Lake, in the middle of the park, around 5 a.m. when the gator attacked, police spokesman Lt. Scott Gore said. The park includes a disc golf course, playground and boat ramp.

“Supposedly he was in the water up to his waist and he was looking for Frisbees when the gator took notice of him,” Gore said.

Related: Man retrieving frisbees killed in Largo lake after incident with gator, police say

Police did not know how big the alligator was, but Gore said Spitzer used his left hand to pry the animal off. He was transferred to a hospital with injuries to his hand and face.

Police said he is expected to survive the bite.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Tampa office responded to the scene and is investigating.

Spokesman Bryce Phillippi said the 40-year-old man is receiving treatment at a local medical center.

There have been no other reports of an alligator attacking a person at Taylor Park in the last 10 years, Phillippi said.

“Serious injuries caused by alligators are rare in Florida,” Phillippi said in an email. “The (wildlife commission) reminds Florida residents and visitors that when temperatures rise alligators become more active and visible.”

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