Wild visit: 9-foot alligator parks on Florida doorstep

Gators known to live in nearby ponds

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist, Jennifer Ortega - Reporter

COCOA, Fla. - Knock, Knock. Who's there? A 9-foot-long alligator. It was no joke Monday for one Cocoa resident, who opened the front door to find a scaly visitor on the doorstep.

Residents at the College Pines Apartment complex in Cocoa said they walked outside to find a 9-foot alligator on their doorstep.

The gator wouldn't go without a fight, tugging and rolling over and over until he was finally tied down by trappers.

The surprise visitor brought out quite a crowd.

"I was standing at the door and (saw) a man looking at me,

waving down, and I looked, I saw an alligator, so I ran back in the house," resident Liz Marek said.

Residents said the gator showed up around their front doors around 3:30 p.m. Monday. When Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission trappers got there, it went deeper into the porch of a home.

Drew Masders said he ran up the stairs when he saw it and waited for trappers to get there.

"He did his roll a few times and they tied him up, put him in the back of the truck and took off," Masders said.

Masders said gators are known to live in the nearby ponds, but he has never had one get this close.

"I've seen them around a lot. You just don't want to mess with them," he said.

Wildlife officers said it's common for gators to roam from body of water to body of water now that it's getting warmer outside.

"We haven't had much of a winter, so it's kind of already happening. They're already up and moving. If you see one in the wild, don't feed them or mess with them," said Frank Rub with FWC.

State wildlife officers advise anyone who sees an alligator outside its normal habitat to call local law enforcement or the FWC  to have the gator removed.

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