A Miami man had an uncomfortably close call with an eight-foot alligator that walked up to the front door of his apartment in a Southwest Miami-Dade neighborhood. The incident, which happened on Wednesday, June 3, 2015, caused a stir in the neighborhood.
Fernando Belmonte-Zbinden told ABC News that he was about to walk his dog Maggie when he almost ran into the gator at the front door of his house in the Emerald Palms apartment complex, off southwest 151st Street, near the Miami Zoo.
He said the accident was prevented by a neighbor who saw the alligator and warned him in time.
According to Belmonte-Zbinden, the neighbor shouted at him to get back into the house.
“I had just returned from a meeting, walked in my front door, walked right back out with my dog, when all of a sudden I hear one of my neighbors frantically screaming, ‘Get back in, get back in!'”
“So I pull the dog back in and go into the front room that looks out on the lawn, and just see this giant gator walking by.”
He said that when he saw the gator, he got his camera and began snapping photos and taking videos. The giant gator, Belmonte-Zbinden said, walked up to his front door and rested its head on the door.
After stopping at Belmonte-Zbinden’s front door, the alligator began walking around the neighborhood, moving from door to door. Everyone in the gated community ran into their homes as soon as the animal was spotted.
The Emerald Palms’ property management called the authorities and soon police officers arrived with a trapper who captured the animal and took it away.
Belmonte-Zbinden filmed the trapper taking the gator away. He noted that the animal did not appear aggressive and apparently “didn’t mind people being around.”
He said that was not the first time he had seen the gator. He had photographed the individual once before and could recognize it because it was missing a few scales on the tail.
“A lot of people have seen this alligator. It’s never bothered anyone. I photographed it last year over in the canal where I walk my dog. We all know it’s the same one because it’s missing one of the three scales on its tail in a crescent shape. So, it grew over a foot since I saw it.”
He told NBC Miami that the last time in 2014 that he saw and photographed the gator, it was only about six-and-a-half feet long, but it has grown bigger since then.
[Images: Fernando Belmonte-Zbinden via ABC News]