Fact Check

Power Struggle

Photographs show utility workers discovering a large alligator and a nest of snakes?

Published Mar 17, 2004


Claim:   Photographs show utility workers discovering a large alligator and a nest of snakes.

Status:   Real photographs; inaccurate description.

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 2003]

Be glad this isn't your job

Florida Power & Light Working At Orlando International Airport

After seeing this I would definitely want hazardous duty pay! Just another day at work in the beautiful Florida Sun!!! A Florida Power &
Light crew putting in lines for an addition to the Orlando International Airport found the following in a culvert they were using...

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The gator is/was 18' 2" long.

The rattlesnake roundup totaled 87.

Origins:   Despite

the urbanization of much of the world, there are still plenty of places left where construction work runs flush into non-human inhabitants of both the large and the deadly varieties. The message reproduced above purports to document an instance where power workers ran into a couple of dangerous species at the same site, one large in size and the other large in number. Although the photographs are genuine, they have nothing to do with each other — they're two unrelated images someone lumped together with a fabricated story.

According to the folks at Florida Power & Light (FPL), these pictures don't depict one of their crews, nor were they taken at a work site around Orlando International Airport, as claimed in the accompanying text:

Thank you for your recent e-mail. We received this same inquiry about the
alligator and snakes in August, 2002. At that time one of our employees
investigated the situation.

What they found out was OUC (Orlando Utilities Commission) services the
Orlando International Airport area. They contacted OUC who said they knew
nothing about the story. FPL's environmental department said they had been
forwarded many copies and that this is a hoax or urban legend that is being
passed around the Internet. They also advised that the rattlesnakes are
western diamondbacks and would not be found in Florida.

The California Bureau of Land Management identifies the second photograph as a picture of desert rattlesnakes.

Last updated:   25 February 2005

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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