Lisa Powell Niemiec was quick to take to Facebook with photos of the gator, which she spotted last week at a beach at the nearby St. Andrews State Park. As of Friday afternoon, the post had nearly 8,000 shares.
“Just your average Florida beach day,” one person said in response to the photos.
“Pond lizard,” wrote another.
“Nice one,” said a third.
“We were fishing and he swam up on us,” she told the Panama City News Herald. “I think he was tired because of the current in the pass and he laid there on the beach for a while then he swam around Deepwater point into North Lagoon.”
The gator likely came from one of the nearby freshwater pools located at the state park, according to the publication, which noted Gator Lake is typically a hot-spot for the reptiles.
Gators “can tolerate salt water for a few hours or even days,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). But the prehistoric creatures are “primarily freshwater animals, living in swampy areas, rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds.”