They don’t call Florida alligator country for nothing. The state is home to an estimated 1.3 million of the scaly reptiles, and they can be found roaming pretty much everywhere — from public parks to golf courses and even around people’s homes.
The latter was the case for a Tampa resident recently; they found a 4-foot-long alligator taking a siesta under a car on their property.
Hillsborough County Deputies Wheaton, Noland and Morrey responded to the call of the snoozing reptile. According to the Sheriff’s Office, the alligator had wandered onto the property from a nearby pond behind the home. The deputies were tasked with finding a way to get the gator back to the water.
Luckily, Wheaton had some alligator-wrangling experience under her belt. In early April, she helped relocate a 10-foot-long alligator sleeping under a car at an apartment complex. “We’ve officially changed her name to Crocodile Dun-Wheatee,” the Sheriff’s Office joked on Facebook.
So Wheaton relied on her experience and quick thinking to get the job done. Body-worn camera footage shows Wheaton cleverly using a broom to guide the gator back to a nearby pond. “The gator latched onto the broom and went for a joy ride” to the water, the Sheriff’s Office reported. The alligator was safely returned to the pond and no one was injured.
Apparently, alligators are out and about more than usual this time of year. “It’s mating season and in general, gators become more visible and active during the spring and summer,” the Sheriff’s Office explained, cautioning residents to keep their distance from alligators and to call the local authorities if they encounter one in their neighborhood.
Great work to the deputies involved!