MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A Miami-Dade County neighborhood was caught off guard after residents discovered a large alligator stuck in a storm drain.
Once residents realized the eight-foot gator was unable to get out, they knew something had to be done.
“I never would expect something like that to be there,” said resident Louis Fernandez.
Fernandez was playing catch with his friends when he spotted what he first thought was a turtle.
“The nose is moving and breathing and I’m like that’s not a turtle, that’s when we figured out that it’s a gator,” he said.
The teens first spotted the gator in their Southwest Miami-Dade neighborhood, not far from Florida International University’s main campus, on Friday.
In the days since, the sighting has caused quite the stir with residents, who have been snapping pictures and recording videos, but they were hoping it would eventually be able to free itself.
“We didn’t think it would be this long for it to get out,” said resident Oscar Alvarez. “I’ve been worried for it after the second day because I knew it has been stuck there.”
That’s when the group called officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, hoping they would be able to free the animal.
“We called public works and they used some water pumps to push water through the storm drain,” said FWC Officer Ron Washington. “It went to the positive outflow into the canal and eventually the gator did swim back into the canal.”
While trappers said they were unable to capture it, they did say it was fortunate the gator didn’t hurt anyone and that it wasn’t injured in the process either.
Crews will now cap that drain, to ensure the safety of residents.
“I haven’t seen that, especially in a storm drain, which for this area is not common,” said Fernandez.
FWC officials said they will continue to monitor the area even though the gator swam back into the canal.