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WATCH: Gator climbs into fenced-in area at Circle B Bar Reserve

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — An alligator climbed into a fenced-in area at the Circle B Bar Reserve near Lakeland on May 4.

A video shows the reptile inside a fenced area for hikers. It used a wooden bench to hoist itself over the barrier before falling into the bushes below.

Selina Philips, who took the video, told McClatchy News she didn’t notice the gator on the bridge at first.

“That’s the scary part. I had my back turned to the opposite side of the bridge and stopped to look at a great blue heron when I heard the noise — a strange loud, heavy clomping sound. So I turned around and saw him half way up on the bench inside the fenced area where (humans) usually are. … How did it get there? Did we walk past each other? Did it walk behind me when my back was turned or was he already there?” she said.

After a moment of silence, the gator reappeared under the bridge and started hissing, Phillips said.

“Seeing the climb and the strength and will power, I walked away more cautious. … I am a native Floridian so I’ve seen lots of gators and still it was so very cool,” she added.

Phillips shared her video on Facebook, where it has been viewed nearly 125,000 times.

“Oh great. My ‘irrational’ fear of walking down a boardwalk to find an alligator at the end was just justified,” Tara Brogan wrote on Facebook. “If they learn how to open doors, we’re in trouble,” Elizabeth Ross wrote.

“This is the stuff of nightmares for me!” Jessica Candelario Heringer posted..

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