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Gainesville Gator Crashes Couples Romantic Lakeside Picnic

GAINESVILLE (CBSMiami) - A gator crashed a romantic picnic by the lake and went on a feeding frenzy on the couple's spread of food.

Taylor Forte had planned the picnic for her fiance Trevor Walters at Lake Alice before he left for the Marines for 10 weeks.

The day was warm, the food was laid out, and their unexpected visitor arrived.

"[It] comes swimming up, right up to the bank and he just looks us dead in the eyes and then he immediately just sprints up onto the beach," Walters told CBS affiliate WGFL.

"We were in shock so we just like hauled tail the other way and watched it happen," said Forte.

Walters said the gator didn't waste any time getting down to business.

"He annihilated an entire block of cheese, gobbled it down, lickety-split, the salami didn't stand a chance," he said.

It then washed down its appetizer with half a watermelon and a pound of grapes.

"And then the worst part, he goes over, we have this big bowl of guac made, he eats the whole bowl! He put the whole bowl in his mouth and just ahhhhh," said Walters.

But Taylor and Trevor were not going down without a fight.

"So I learned this technique back in my childhood to scare away bears. You get up and make yourself big and like make loud noises to scare it away, it's called a bear scare," said Walters.

And apparently, it worked.

"It really worked, the bear scare, for real," said Walters.

"Yeah. You know, what alligator will come up and steal food at a picnic like that? It's like Yogi the Bear," said Forte.

Experts say a gator that has been fed before.

"It sounds like that alligator has been fed previously and he has lost his wariness of people and is beginning to associate people with food," said Karen Parker with the state's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:

Parker said a fed gator is a dead gator. Once gators become a nuisance and charge people, the FWC must have them removed for public safety.

"We call our trappers and they catch the gator that's causing problems," Parker said. "They keep the gator for its hide and meat."

That's why Parker said it's important not to feed gators.

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