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Last Updated: Monday, 15 May 2006, 03:18 GMT 04:18 UK
New US alligator killings feared
Alligator
Alligators are becoming more active as the weather heats up
The bodies of two more women who were apparently attacked by alligators have been retrieved in Florida.

The finds follow a fatal attack last week, only the 18th confirmed alligator killing in Florida since 1948.

In the latest cases, a 23-year-old woman was pronounced dead after being pulled from the jaws of an alligator in the Lake George area.

The body of another woman who had apparently suffered alligator bites was found in a canal near St Petersburg.

Residents have been warned not to swim in vegetated areas or walk pets near water, particularly at night.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Willie Puz said increasing temperatures meant alligators were more active in searching for food and mates.

"As the weather heats up, the alligators' metabolism increases and they have to eat more. They might be moving more, but that just shouldn't mean increased alligator attacks."

Autopsy

At Lake George, 50 miles (80km) south-east of Gainesville, the 23-year-old woman was attacked while snorkelling.

Marion County Fire-Rescue Captain Joe Amigliore told the Associated Press news agency: "The people she was staying with came around and found her inside the gator's mouth

"They jumped into the water and somehow pulled her out."

However, the so-far unidentified woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

In the other new case, the body of Judy W Cooper, 43, was found in a canal north of St Petersburg with bites consistent with those of an alligator.

A preliminary autopsy said the bites did play some part in her death.

Neither of the new attacks is yet confirmed as an alligator fatality.

Traps have been set for both alligators involved in the attacks.

Arms found

Last Wednesday, the dismembered body of Yovy Suarez Jimenez, 28, was found in the town of Sunrise, a day after she vanished while jogging near the canal.

No-one is believed to have seen the attack, but some people saw a woman matching Ms Jimenez's description dangling her feet over the canal's edge.

Florida wildlife officials said a 2.9m (9ft 6in) alligator had been trapped under the bridge where Ms Jimenez was last seen. Two human arms were found inside its stomach.

In addition to the 18 confirmed fatalities in 58 years, there have been nine other suspected alligator killings.




SEE ALSO:
'Killer alligator' caught in US
14 May 06 |  Americas
Alligator kills jogger in Florida
12 May 06 |  Americas
Snake bursts after gobbling gator
05 Oct 05 |  Americas


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