Orange gator found in Nokomis

Officials said the reptile had been covered in paint or a substance.

Published: Friday, January 7, 2011 at 10:21 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 7, 2011 at 10:21 a.m.

VENICE, Fla. - Word of an orange alligator in Nokomis spread all the way to New York on Thursday, after Sylvia Mythen shared photos of the animal with a local television station.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the reptile is not naturally the color worn by the University of Florida's Gators, but was somehow covered in paint or another orange substance.

"Its teeth are that color, too," said agency spokesman Gary Morse, noting that state experts had scrutinized the photo and determined the color change was not genetic.

Painted or not, getting images of the brightly hued alligator has been a thrill for Mythen, who is in her 70s. She wanted her grandchildren in Indiana to see the gator she captured in snapshots Wednesday, but was surprised by the attention it has generated.

Mythen, a Venice resident for the past eight years, volunteers helping residents in the Sorrento Woods neighborhood where the animal was spotted.

"When I passed by and I saw an orange alligator, it was like, 'Did I really see that?'" she said.

An ABC television station in New York called her on Thursday, saying her image could go national. "They said it was a human interest story," she said.

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