Getty Images: AlligatorThe body of Yovy Suarez Jimenez has been found a day after she disappeared while running along a canal.

“The alligator attacked her… bit her… and pulled her into the water,” medical examiner Dr Joshua Perper said. […] Dr Perper – who performed the autopsy – said that the alligator “basically amputated” the woman’s arms, and bit her on the leg and back. “She died extremely fast. By the time she was pulled into the water she was already dead,” the medical examiner at Broward County said. No-one is believed to have seen the attack, but some people saw a woman matching Ms Jimenez’s description dangling her feet over the canal’s edge, reports in the local media say.

In 2000, I moved down to Florida for a brief time. My brother, who had been living there for a few years, told me that he had gone swimming once until the lifeguard was going off duty and told him he had to get out of the water. My brother being a fairly strong swimmer said that he wasn’t too worried about drowning and would just go lifeguardless. The lifeguard insisted that he get out, however. He wasn’t worried about my brother drowning, but about him getting attacked when there was nobody there and then having to clean up the mess the next day. My brother did not go into the water a single time after that until he moved to Texas.

I used to go running daily while I was down there, and saw ‘gators and crocodiles now and then. They never really moved much when I was going by, and I never worried too much about them. If Ms. Jiminez had her feet dangling in the water, though, I can easily see how that might look tasty to a hungry animal.

The only animal that really bothered me while I was down there were the vultures. I had one loop that would now and again have about 3 to 4 dozen of them up in the trees staring down at me with their beady little eyes. Their heads would turn and follow me as I passed them. It was very disconcerting.

Don’t let these stories stop you from running while you are in Florida, however. After all, I ran down there once or twice a day for over a year (more, if you count my preseason trips the previous few years to living there), and I never had any actual problems with wildlife. There have only been 25 alligator deaths down there in the last 58 years. Just stay alert to your surroundings, and if it is summer be sure to get out before the heat comes in. The four o’clock shower will not last long enough to keep you cool while running, and after it is over the heat and humidy just gets that much worse.