ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — Staff at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm became concerned Tuesday morning when they found pieces of clothing inside the zoo’s Nile Crocodile exhibit.
Then they found the blood.
Concerned, staff called police. They say officers responded, “We think we found your guy.”
Officers had found a man in his boxers, bloody, claiming to have been bitten by a crocodile. Police later arrested the man.
Several lamps and signs were broken, and a statue in the middle of the crocodile pit — that you can only get to by swimming — was toppled.
Park director John Bruggen said they found a pair of shorts and a rubber “Crocs” shoe floating in the pit and thought it might be a prank.
He said they then found a lot of blood at the top of the zipline platform over the crocodiles.
Police say a man had been located in a nearby neighborhood in only his boxers. He had blood on him.
Bruggen told Action News Jax that the officer asked him if he’d been messing around at the Alligator Farm and he said, “Oh no sir, I wasn’t.”
The man appeared to have several bites on his foot.
Police say he was taken to the hospital.
Bruggen said this is the first time in park history that someone has jumped into one of the exhibits.
He said the man appeared to be unstable in surveillance video. He had to climb over fencing and barbed wire to get into the pit.
“I would think he’s on some sort of drugs,” Bruggen said. “I’m concerned about an individual who literally climbs up a wall that’s meant to keep you from crocodiles and leaps over the wall into the water with them.”
None of the crocodiles were hurt, Bruggen said.