A Florida man was shocked to find a large, nine-foot alligator taking a dip in his backyard swimming pool on Tuesday afternoon. According to ABC News, 38-year-old Craig Lear, a resident of Lakeland, Florida, discovered the alligator in his pool when he went to his backyard to check if a stray golf ball had ended up in his pool. Instead of the golf ball however, he discovered the huge reptile lying at the bottom of the pool.
Craig’s home is near a golf course, and upon reaching the pool, he saw bubbles coming out of the water and assumed they were caused by the submerged golf ball.
Craig’s Wife Laura reminisces;
“He thought, ‘Why are there bubbles in the pool?'”
He went in for a closer look — but couldn’t see anything clearly because the pool has a pebble stone floor, which makes the water grainy. Only when he glanced carefully at the bottom of the pool did he discover the alligator there. The alligator was over nine-feet in length and weighed over 300 pounds.
Laura, a longtime Chicago resident, says she had only heard about alligators ending up in people’s backyards and never thought one day it would happen to her.
“I hear stories about gators, but never at my house,” she said.
After Craig discovered the alligator in the swimming pool, he quickly dashed back inside his home to check on his son and three cats to make sure all of them were safe. He then called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, who in turn connected him to Scott Barbon, a veteran alligator trapper with over 13 years of experience catching wayward alligators.
Soon, Barbon reached Craig’s backyard, and they started making plans to get the alligator out of the water. Barbon threw a lasso into the water and managed to get it around the reptile’s neck. However, the alligator, which had remained motionless until now, suddenly turned aggressive and started thrashing around. The thrashing created giant waves inside the swimming pool. Craig says he was terrified and worried what would happen if the lasso came off and the alligator escaped out of the pool.
“It was pretty nerve wracking. At any point, I thought, if that lasso comes off… that gator could slip right outta that pool and we were gonna have a problem.”
“We didn’t know what the gator would do,” Laura said.
It took Barbon over an hour to somehow get the alligator outside the pool.
“They’re pretty tough animals,” Barbon said.
We have embedded the raw video of the last moments of the capture. In the video, you can see a barefoot Barbon using all his strength to pull the alligator out of the pool.
Barbon was also asked by many why he chose to go about his work barefoot, to which he said his bare feet are the “best pair of shoes” he has when on the job.
“I don’t wear shoes because my feet get wet and my shoes get wet. So, I stopped wearing them.”
Meanwhile, even after the harrowing incident, Craig and Laura are not worried about the possibility of another alligator ending up in their backyard. There are at least two more alligators reportedly living in a pond on the golf course nearby. Laura however seems unfazed.
“I don’t know what Mother Nature will do. But I’m not scared. What are the odds?”
Now for the rather sad part. Barbon revealed that the alligator caught from Craig’s backyard was euthanized and processed for its meat and hide. This was because alligators are very common in the states of Florida and Louisiana, with each state estimated to house more than two million alligators combined.
[Image Via Pixabay]