ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Police jumped in to take one dangerous intruder into custody this week in a St. Petersburg neighborhood.
Two St. Pete officers helped a trapper wrangle a massive alligator Thursday on 59th Avenue South. According to police, neighbors said it was getting close to kids playing in the area and seemed a little too comfortable around people.
The department shared photos of the 10-foot, 400-pound reptile in a Facebook post showing the officers standing several feet away with a pole in their hands while the trapper approached the animal from behind.
"Hard to believe alligator trapping used to be part of the police academy requirements not too long ago!!" the post read. "We’re happy to keep our distance and let the pro wrangle it in."
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, an alligator may be considered a nuisance if it's at least 4 feet long and believed to pose a threat to people, pets or property. The agency uses contracted alligator trappers to remove any animals threatening public safety through its Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP).
Wildlife experts explain that they remove alligators rather than relocating them as relocated gators often try to return to their capture site. Relocating the reptiles to remote areas could also disturb established healthy alligator populations, likely leading to fighting.
Florida has about 1.3 million alligators throughout the state, FWC adds.
Anyone concerned about a possible nuisance alligator should call the FWC's toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286).
You can find more resources about living with alligators at MyFWC.com/Alligator.