Alligator found hiding at bottom of Florida swimming pool


A Florida woman says she opened her blinds to find a young alligator staring back at her from the swimming pool. She called Orange County deputies get it out.

Orange County Sheriff’s Office video screenshot

A Florida woman says she looked out her window to find an alligator staring back at her, but that was not the worst of it.

“I have a 4-foot alligator in my swimming pool,” the woman told Orange County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

“Dear God, I woke up, I opened the blinds, and there it is looking at me. … I’m assuming it’s not going to find its way back out on its own.”

It happened Aug. 11 and video posted by the sheriff’s office shows Deputies Jonathan Hill and Janeen Jeffra found the young alligator “just chilling” at the bottom of a pool surrounded by both a fence and a screen. The county is home to Orlando.

Hill hadn’t been on an alligator call before and was apprehensive. Among his many questions included whether alligators are fast (they can be when they want).

“They didn’t go over this in the academy,” Hill says in the video, which had been viewed more than 20,000 times as of Aug. 19.

“Are you going to scream? Jeffra joked with him. “Did I find a weakness of yours?”

The deputies considered multiple ways to remove the alligator — including using a trash can — but ultimately decided to call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

FWC sent a licensed trapper who “captured and relocated (the gator) to the St. Johns River,” officials said. (Details of how the trapper got it out of the water were not released.)

The pool is surrounded by a fence and is screened in, so it’s a mystery how the alligator got into the water. However, the homeowner suspects it may have crawled under the fence.

The alligator qualified for relocation because it was likely just under 4 feet and was not considered a threat. Larger “nuisance” alligators are often euthanized by trappers, the state says.

“Alligators less than 4 feet in length are not large enough to be dangerous to people or pets, unless handled,” the FWC says.

Florida has an estimated 1.3 million alligators and they live in all 67 counties, resulting in frequent reports of alligators in streets and yards, under cars and in swimming pools.

“If there’s an alligator under 4 feet in your swimming pool, on your porch or in a similar situation, call the Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286).”

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Mark Price has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1991, covering beats including schools, crime, immigration, LGBTQ issues, homelessness and nonprofits. He graduated from the University of Memphis with majors in journalism and art history, and a minor in geology.

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