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Barking dogs alert South Florida homeowner to 480-pound alligator in backyard

'This is the time of year when we tell everyone to be aware of your surroundings,' trapper Todd Hardwick says
Posted at 11:38 AM, Apr 10, 2024

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. — Barking dogs alerted a South Florida homeowner to an unwelcome intruder in his backyard.

Tim Nguyen told WFOR his dogs started barking at an 11-foot-long, 480-pound alligator in the backyard of his farm.

"I heard my dogs barking a lot," he said. "I went to see what was going on, why they were barking a lot. An alligator was over there. I was just so nervous. I called 911 right away."

Along with Miami-Dade police, veteran trapper Todd Hardwick of Pesky Critters responded to the farm located at Southwest 227th Avenue and 233rd Street.

Tim Nguyen found the alligator on his farm in southwest Miami-Dade County.
Tim Nguyen found the alligator on his farm in southwest Miami-Dade County.

"This is typical for this time of year," Hardwick said. "This is a male alligator a little over 11 feet. He got out of a canal last night."

It took a team to place the alligator into Hardwick's pickup truck to remove it from the property.

This was just one of the 1.3 million alligators that call Florida home.

"This is the time when they are moving around," Hardwick said. "Their metabolism is increasing with the warmer weather and longer days of daylight. More importantly, this is breeding season, so these male gators are looking for female gators. They're also fighting other male gators to get them out of their territory."

Todd Hardwick of Pesky Critters explains to WFOR reporter Peter D'Oench about what residents should do if they encounter an alligator on their property.
Todd Hardwick of Pesky Critters explains to WFOR reporter Peter D'Oench about what residents should do if they encounter an alligator on their property.

If you see an alligator give it some space.

"Alligators normally are afraid of people, and they will stay away from us," Hardwick said. "That changes when they get out of water and they walk because they know when they are out of water. They are out of their element and they are more dangerous because they are vulnerable. They know they got a problem, they're not in the water and can't get away."

Hardwick had some advice for Florida residents to avoid disturbing the reptiles.

"This is the time of year when we tell everyone to be aware of your surroundings," Hardwick said. "Any body of water can and will contain an alligator in Florida at some time."

Hardwick said the alligator removed from the farm would not be released back into the wild because it would most likely return to the area.

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Nearly 8-foot alligator invades Florida woman's home

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