By now, nearly 2 million people have seen the YouTube video of a wild horse and an alligator squaring off in the middle of Paynes Prairie State Preserve Park.
An Ocala nursing student captured the footage on her iPhone — depicting the horse stomping on the unsuspecting gator — and posted directly to YouTube.
In less than a week since the April 12 incident, the footage has circulated across the globe and calls have flooded the park.
“Only in Florida,” reads the video’s title.
But David McCorquodale, a Paynes Prairie park ranger, said fights between different species of wildlife happen every day.
“That’s just life on the prairie,” he said.
McCorquodale said the horse was most likely angry that the alligator was encroaching on his territory: grassy, elevated land away from the water. The horse was also likely protecting a nearby colt, or young male horse, he said.
McCorquodale said he doesn’t believe either the horse or the alligator was seriously hurt after the encounter.
“From what I’ve heard, this horse is walking around,” he said. “If it had a cut, it’s probably healed.”
Krystal Berry, who filmed the encounter, said in her countless trips to Paynes Prairie, this was the first time she ever saw an interaction like that.
Berry said she was shocked at how fast her video went viral.
“It’s really funny to see everyone’s response to the video,” Berry said. “Some people actually said we should have intervened, but we don’t exactly get trained in alligator-horse combat in nursing school.”
Contact Molly Vossler at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at @molly_vossler