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Alligator appears to ride on manatee's back at Florida state park

By Ben Hooper

ORANGE CITY, Fla., Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Florida wildlife officials shared a resident's photo that appears to show an alligator at a state park riding on the back of a swimming manatee.

The photo, snapped by Dana Menk at the Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, was posted to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Facebook page as part of a manatee photo contest.

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An FWC manatee expert said the alligator wasn't actually riding on the sea cow's back, it was just swimming directly above it.

"I would guess that these manatees were hanging out near warm water or heading to warm water and the alligator was looking for a sunny spot to hang out along the shoreline and they simply crossed paths," FWC expert Ron Mezich said in a statement.

The FWC said the manatee was not in any danger from the alligator, as gators generally will not see adult manatees as prey due to their large size and shape.

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