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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Sarasota man was hospitalized with serious injuries following an alligator bite incident in Myakka City.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Eric Merda, 43, was bitten by the gator near Lake Manatee Fish Camp, 23745 County Road 675.

Authorities responded around 5:30 p.m., and took Merda to an area hospital to be treated for serious injuries to his arm.

The FWC is still investigating the incident, and an alligator trapper was dispatched to the scene to find the gator.

According to the commission, alligators seldom bite people, and fatal attacks are rare. Of the nine alligator attacks on humans in Florida last year, seven were major and two were minor. None were fatal, according to FWC data.

Alligators tend to be more active during the summer when temperatures are between 82 and 92 degrees. According to the FWC, an alligator is deemed a nuisance “if it is at least 4 feet in length and the caller believes it poses a threat to people, pets or property.”

If you see an alligator, officials say you should keep your distance and not feed it. To report a nuisance alligator, call the FWC’s toll-free hotline at 866-392-4286.

Alligator bite incident sends Sarasota man to hospital

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