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Beachgoers spot Gator hanging near the surf on Fernandina Beach

“So, a gator came out of the surf on Fernandina Beach while we were hunting shark teeth,” Tommy Masters said on Facebook.

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. — This is not exactly what most people would like to run into on their morning beach walk.

A gator was spotted on the sand near the surf in Fernandina Beach.

The picture was posted to the Shark Tooth Hunters of Mickler’s Beach Facebook group, and then also shared in the First Coast News Weather Watchers Facebook group.

According to the comments, this guy (or gal) seems to be a frequent visitor, too! Some have even said the locals have given him the nickname "Smiley."

Tommy Masters, who posted the photo originally, captioned it with “So a gator came out of the surf on Fernandina Beach while we were hunting shark teeth."

"We walked from the beach side all the way to [Fort Clinch] and we saw him right at the end," said Bruna Costa.

Others, who have had a run in with the so-called friendly gator before, said this is not uncommon.

"Just give it space and you'll be fine," added Reanna Boudrow.

According to Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, April is alligator courting season and mating season begins in May and June, which means the frisky reptiles have been venturing out more in recent weeks in hopes of finding a companion.

Either way, Shelley Studt on Facebook agrees, "That is the friendliest looking gator I’ve ever seen."

No wonder the locals named him Smiley!

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