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Hillsborough County family finds gator in their swimming pool

Posted at 10:26 PM, Jun 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-12 12:46:30-04

BRANDON, Fla. — A Hillsborough County family found a gator in their backyard swimming pool.

"I noticed there was a gator in there. I told everybody, but everybody thought I was just joking," said Carlos Rivera.

Carlos Rivera noticed the gator on Monday evening. He hoped the gator would find its own way out.

"I just went back inside and ate dinner and while we were eating dinner we kind of skimmed through the phone to see the authorities you had to call," said Rivera.

Rivera said the alligator found its own way out of the pool and then strolled through the yard.

His daughter, Veronica, got her boyfriend to help.

"We saw him walking around for a while and we were wondering who we should call like my dad said and then we decided its probably best because it was a baby alligator so we thought we could handle it," said Veronica Rivera.

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The family placed the alligator into a garbage bin and took it to a nearby pond. Signs around the pond warn neighbors about gators.

FWC sent me the following statement, "FWC places the highest priority on public safety and administers a Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP) to address complaints concerning specific alligators believed to pose a threat to people, pets or property. Regardless of the alligator’s size, when someone concerned about an alligator calls the Nuisance Alligator Hotline, we will dispatch one of our contracted nuisance alligator trappers or an FWC officer to resolve the situation."

The FWC strongly urges the public to be aware of their surroundings and not attempt to capture, touch, or feed alligators, regardless of size. State law prohibits the killing, harassing or possessing alligators. Feeding alligators is also dangerous and illegal.

People with concerns about an alligator should call FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286).

In 2019, SNAP, The Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program, received 14,072 nuisance alligator complaints resulting in the removal of 8,972 nuisance alligators.