A 10-Foot Alligator is Spotted Swimming in the Sea Toward Florida Beach. "A Once in a Lifetime Experience"
“Incredibly grateful to have captured this moment.”
A giant alligator was spotted swimming in the ocean just north of Jupiter inlet on Jupiter Island, Florida, much to the delight of the aerial photographer who caught the reptile on camera. "I've heard stories of possible sightings in the past but none have been captured on video to my knowledge. A once in a lifetime experience I'll be sure to remember," says local aerial photographer Nick Serrano. Here's what the video footage shows and why the situation was so unusual.
The alligator was seen happily swimming in the surf north of Jupiter Inlet. Serrano posted the video on his TikTok account with a caption explaining how he spotted the giant gator. "Incredibly grateful to have captured this moment. Earlier today, my gf and I went to our local beach to capture some footage of the black-tip migration, what we found instead was an 8-10+ foot American alligator cruising the surf."
Serrano went on to say spotting an alligator in the ocean was a first for him. "I've lived along the treasure coast and palm beaches for 18 years and have never seen an alligator break the inlet. I've heard stories of possible sightings in the past but none have been captured on video to my knowledge. A once in a lifetime experience l'll be sure to remember."
The incident was unusual because alligators are freshwater creatures and are not usually found swimming in the ocean. Crocodiles, on the other hand, can handle both seawater and freshwater much more easily. "There are many things you may encounter when swimming in the ocean," says the National Ocean Service. "Alligators probably aren't one of them. While alligators can tolerate salt water for a few hours or even days, they are primarily freshwater animals, living in swampy areas, rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds."
People who spot alligators in the ocean or in freshwater should keep their distance. Alligators are opportunists, which means they will eat whatever is easiest—this includes birds, fish, turtles, snakes, frogs, and even fruit. While alligators have been known to attack people, generally speaking it's a rare occurrence.
An alligator was euthanized in October, after it was washed out to Anna Maria Island following Hurricane Ian. "While the American alligator prefers freshwater lakes and slow-moving rivers and their associated wetlands, they are seen in brackish water habitats occasionally," wildlife commission spokesperson Tammy Sapp says. "Alligators can swim in and tolerate saltwater for a short period of time, but it is not their preferred habitat."
Alligators have several physiological adaptations that allow them to thrive in freshwater environments. They have a gland near their eyes that helps to remove excess salt from their bodies, which is important in freshwater environments where salt levels can be low. They also have specialized kidneys that are able to regulate their body's salt balance.
However, while alligators can tolerate some exposure to saltwater, they are not well-suited for prolonged periods in saltwater environments. Their skin and eyes can become irritated by salt, and they may struggle to find food in these habitats. Additionally, the high salt levels in seawater can interfere with the alligator's ability to regulate its body's salt balance, leading to dehydration and other health problems.
@altitudefp Incredibly grateful to have captured this moment. Earlier today, my gf and I went to our local beach to capture some footage of the black-tip migration, what we found instead was an 8-10+ foot American aligator cruising the surf. I've lived along the treasure coast and palm beaches for 18 years and have never seen an aligator break the inlet. I've heard stories of possible sightings in the past but none have been captured on video to my knowledge. A once in a lifetime experience l'll be sure to remember. #fyp #palmbeachcounty #jupiterisland #aligatoronbeach #captainsforcleanwater #dji #wildlife #aligator #jupiterflorida ♬ original sound – Altitudefp