“Hey Dad, guess what’s in the basketball Court?!”

Gators are to Floridians like chickens are to poultry farmers…we pretty much take them for granted because they are just everywhere.  Honestly, there seems to be a gator in every body of water larger than a puddle and the natives here get pretty blasé about them.

Even so, sometimes they manage to get our attention:  Check this out!

Gator trapped in neighborhood Basketball court in Florida

Who has Dibs on the Court?

My son Ryan (on right) and his cousin Jonathan, had walked down to the end of our street to play some basketball.  Ryan had just entered the court when it noticed it was already occupied!  He quickly decided that the gator had dibs on the court and made the understandable decision to high-tail it out of there.

This gator had entered the caged court the night before thru a door that had been left open.  The door shut automatically trapping it inside.  Apparently it had been trying to get out for a while…it was exhausted and its snout was bloody from slamming against the cage.

Gator trapped in neighborhood Basketball court in FloridaGator trapped in neighborhood Basketball court in FloridaGator trapped in neighborhood Basketball court in Florida

Ryan called me and I hustled down (with my camera of course).  We propped the door to the court open and then spent about 40 minutes trying to encourage the gator to leave the court.  He (she?) crawled all over the court but wouldn’t go out the open door.    We couldn’t just go home and leave the gator there…a caged seven foot gator can be pretty ornery and if some kids walked into the court unaware it could be a close encounter of the unpleasant kind.

Gator trapped in neighborhood Basketball court in Florida

“Hell No…I Won’t Go!”

Once it became clear that we weren’t going to be able to convince it to leave, I called the Sheriff’s Department hoping a Deputy might have an idea or two.  A couple officers came by twenty minutes later but they had no more luck than we had.

After another half hour it became clear that we had no choice but to call a Gator Trapper.   It was a last resort and something none of us truly really wanted to do because it was a death sentence for the gator (Gator Trappers are contractors licensed by the state of Florida who are ‘paid’ by selling the hide and meat of the gators they catch…in other words, they don’t ‘catch and release.’)

The trapper and a helper arrived 40 minutes later…we spent that time becoming increasing frustrated by our inability to get the darn gator to save itself and head out the door and back to the lake.  I was sure the trapper would be ticked off if he showed up and the gator was gone, but just the same we did everything we could short of actually enter the court and push it out the door!

 

Florida Alligator Trapper removed gator from neighborhood basketball courtFlorida Alligator Trapper removed gator from neighborhood basketball courtFlorida Alligator Trapper removed gator from neighborhood basketball court

I’ll tell you, the trapper sure knew his business.  In five minutes he had grabbed the gator, taped its mouth shut, trussed it up and carried it off the court.

Florida Alligator Trapper removed gator from neighborhood basketball court

Later Gator…

I’ve often been ticked off at folks who call to report gators that aren’t doing anything more than basking next to one of our ponds or streams…so for me to have to call a trapper was ironic and disheartening.  Still the right decision but not one that I enjoyed making.

Only in Florida….

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4 Comments

  1. dota2hacks. August 8, 2013 at 5:42 am #

    Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve visited your blog before but after looking at a few of the articles I realized it’s new to me.
    Nonetheless, I’m certainly happy I discovered it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking
    back regularly!

    • Jeff Stamer August 13, 2013 at 9:11 am #

      Thanks! I’m glad you enjoy my ramblings…Hope you enjoy the blog!

      • vickie December 31, 2013 at 11:24 pm #

        Hey, I remember this gator. He found his way in but getting back out was a different story. I left for my vehicle when the trapper got there, not wanting to hear all the details about euthanizing. Then I saw the trapper leave with the gator packed up like a suitcase. My Sarge told me however, that the trapper was going to relocate him. Perhaps he was trying to make me feel better but he’s not the delicate type and is instead, pretty straight forward. So some good news for the gator and a good story all the way around. Thanks.

        • Jeff Stamer January 1, 2014 at 6:04 am #

          Hey…that is good news! I’ve always felt bad for that gator…he wasn’t aggressive or messing with anyone…he was just in the wrong place! Thanks for starting my New Year with a happy ending for this story. Thanks also for all you and the other Deputies do to keep my family safe!

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