Living in Florida means living with the possibility that just about anything can happen. A simple Google search of the phrase “a Florida man” will quickly exemplify the type of antics associated with the Sunshine State’s human residents, yet let’s not forget that the wildlife in the area is also known to party.
Today’s example involves an 11-foot-long (3.35 meterS) American alligator that took itself for a swim in a Sarasota County couple’s indoor swimming pool. Yes, indoor.
According to Sky News, Sarasota Sheriff’s officers and animal control experts were summoned to the Carver household in Calusa Lake, on the west coast of the Florida peninsula, late on the night of 30 March after Mr. Carver was woken by strange noises coming from within the house. After a quick survey, he spotted the reptile calmly floating in the chlorinated water.
"He opened the curtain and saw the head of a gator and said, ‘call 911, call 911!’” Mrs. Carver told the paper.
Despite the inherent danger of hauling a ~1,000-pound (450-kg) carnivore against its will, the emergency responders seemed to enjoy themselves. They captured the process of roping the gator and dragging it out of the pool onto the lawn in numerous photos shared on the Sheriff’s office Twitter and a video that has since gone viral (non-Floridians have a lot of thoughts about it).
The social media account later details that the alligator likely entered the house by busting through a screen door but does not go into detail about what became of the creature after it was removed. If the operation was handled similarly to past gator-in-pool incidents (of which there are many), he or she was likely relocated to a more appropriate habitat by a local trapper.
As to why it entered the house, Mrs. Carver speculates that low water levels in the nearby lagoon drove the gator to seek refuge in her pool.
American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) are found in freshwater rivers, lakes, and lagoons along the southeastern US, from North Carolina to the southern tip of Texas. Having lost most of the functionality of their salt gland – the organ used by marine reptiles to filter excess salt from their bloodstream – over evolutionary time, American alligators can only survive for short periods of time in the sea or coastal waters.
It is therefore mysterious how gators spend so much time in chlorine salt-heavy artificial pools without any obvious signs of harm. Let’s take it as another sign that members of the Alligator genus – largely unchanged since they emerged 37 million years ago – should be treated with courtesy, even when they’re trespassing.
[H/T: Sky News]