Massive alligator attacks woman after she fell in canal she was sleeping next to

A massive 11-foot long alligator attacked a woman who fell in to a canal she was sleeping beside.

The gory incident took place in St Petersburg, Florida, early Monday morning, at around 6am.

The victim, in her 50s, suffered bites to an arm, hands and leg, according to officials.

The woman had been sleeping under a bridge beside the canal, Salt Creek waterway, before she fell in and was saved after a passerby heard her screaming and contacted emergency services.

When police and firefighters arrived soon afterwards they were concerned the animal might attack again. Police stood with their guns drawn as firefighters worked to retrieve the woman from the water.

Fox 13 Tampa reported that the woman was rushed to hospital, where she is in a stable condition. They also reported that the bridge, over a main road, was a spot where "homeless people often spend the night".

“It took an extra 5-10 minutes to get to where we could reach her and get her out and extricate her safely,” St Petersburg Fire Rescue Lieutenant Steven Lawrence told 10 Tampa Bay.

The 10 feet, 11 inches beast was removed by a trapper called in by the police, and later exterminated.

During an autopsy on the animal, human remains were found in its stomach.

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A local business owner said alligators were frequently spotted in the area, so it is not unlikely that it attacked another person.

Describing what he saw, Dale Mastry told Fox 13 Tampa: "He was just sitting there, maybe he thought he was gonna get fed. And she fell in and that splash… he just reacted like an alligator would react, spontaneously."

Officials have warned people to be vigilant in the area, not to feed the gators and to keep pets on leashes.

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