Alligator bites through bumper, lifts woman's car

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Alligator attacks Gulf Coast woman's car

Associated Press

Posted April 5 2002

PORT CHARLOTTE -- A Port Charlotte woman driving home ran over an alligator, which then bit through her car's bumper and lifted the vehicle off the ground.

Stephanie Feola, 43, said she first thought she hit an opossum Wednesday night. But when she stopped and opened her door, she saw the tail of an almost 7-foot alligator under her car.

``The car started shaking and it was lifting the front end up,'' she said. ``I thought it was going to come up through the floor.''

Feola eventually was able to put the car into reverse to escape from the alligator. She drove away and called police on her cellular phone.

The animal was later caught and killed by a trapper, said Gary Morse, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Morse said it is a common problem in Florida for alligators to be struck by cars. The animal's reaction is often to fight what it thinks is an attacker, he said.

``The alligator doesn't know what's going on,'' Morse said. ``He's got a brain the size of your thumb.''

Port Charlotte is 70 miles south of Tampa.  
 
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