LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – It was a frightening discovery in one Polk County neighborhood — A 9-foot, 300-pound alligator in the backyard swimming pool.
Craig Lear tells News Channel 8 he came home from work around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and went to let the cats out in their screened-in pool area. He didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary since the family pool has a dark bottom to it; the perfect place for the gator to just blend in.
Laura Lear quickly pulled out her phone and began videotaping the incident. In the video you can see that the gator was clearly not giving up without a fight as it wrested with a trapper.Lear became suspicious when he saw bubbles floating up to the surface. That’s when he realized there was an alligator at the bottom.
“This is something I see on the news,” Laura said. “Not in my backyard. I saw him and I was like that’s no gator, that’s a big gator.”
“It startled me at first but I knew it wasn’t going to attack me,” Craig said.
It’s a scare for them, but Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission officials and trappers see it all the time.The couple believes the alligator came from the lake that’s behind their house and busted right through the screen.
“It’s not a surprise an alligator wound up in a swimming pool,” Gary Morse said.
He says it’s a little too early for mating season which begins at the end of the month. But, it’s warm right now and the gators are active, he said.
Still, it’s a startling reminder to Laura Lear who now knows first-hand that the gators were on her property. They were there before the Lears moved in. “We are in gator-land,” she said. “I mean we are on their turf.”
News Channel 8 wanted to know if there have been any similar problems in that neighborhood before. We’re told alligators get out of the lakes all the time. They just don’t typically end up in someone’s pool.