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Small alligator found on Daytona Beach sand

Daytona Beach
Posted at 8:01 PM, Jun 05, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-05 16:09:46-04

DAYTONA BEACH SHORES, Fla. (AP) — It was a rare sight for beachgoers in Daytona Beach Shores: A small alligator walking along the sand.

"I've been here 16 years and I've never seen one on the beach," Beach Safety Ocean Rescue Capt. Tammy Marris told the Daytona Beach News Journal ( ) on Wednesday.

It was not immediately known how it got there, but animal experts said it was possible the alligator may have been swept into the ocean last week by unusually high tides and strong currents.

Beachgoers alerted officials after spotting the gator early Saturday morning. Beth Libert, who heads the Volusia Turtle Patrol, coaxed the gator into a cage before it could cause any harm.

"Good thing we got him before he did a kid," said Libert, who named the animal 'Rex.'

The reptile, being just two feet long, was then taken to the Congo River Adventure Golf in Daytona Beach. General Manager George King says Rex fit right in with the other young gators, but will be transferred to a gator farm when it reaches four feet long.

"After that we send them to a gator farm," King said. "There are about 30 around the state and we call around to see who has the room."

King said the gators must be sent to a farm when they get larger in order to avoid them feasting on the smaller ones.