By Zoe Sottile, CNN
Updated: Sat, 21 May 2022 05:04:44 GMT
A behemoth alligator in Florida enjoyed an early start to the summer -- by jumping into a family's swimming pool.
A family in Deep Creek, Florida, was awakened by some "loud noises" in the early hours of Monday morning, according to a Facebook post from the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office.
When they went to investigate, they discovered their unexpected guest: a huge alligator, weighing in at around 550 lbs and measuring almost 11 feet.
"He tore through the screen to get to the nice, cool water," the sheriff's office said.
Sergeant Brad Stender told CNN that such encounters with alligators are not uncommon, especially during the alligators' mating season in the spring and summer -- although this gator stood out for its massive size.
"This thing was just a monster," said Stender. "It was humongous."
Police officers at the scene called a trapper. With the help of three officers, the trapper used a noose to pull the gator out of the pool and then taped its mouth shut so it could be safely transported.
The trapper already had another 11-foot alligator in his truck waiting to be transferred to a safer environment, so he had to put the reptile found in the swimming pool in his trailer.
Stender told CNN that this was just one of several alligator calls he has responded to this week.
"I signed up to fight crime, here I am fighting dinosaurs," the officer said.
The two gators were both safely relocated to the nearby town of Muse, which is "more conducive" to alligators, Stender said.
He advised people to "keep your distance" if you encounter an alligator.
"They're not going to attack you as long as you don't go up to them," he said. "Most of the time they'll go on their way."
During alligator mating season, he noted, the animals become more active, traveling in search of mates. This leads to a higher likelihood of human-alligator encounters, with the creatures turning up in swimming pools, under vehicles and close to homes.