Barking dogs alert homeowner to 11-foot alligator in backyard

MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WFOR) – A Florida homeowner was alerted to a scaly intruder in his backyard by his barking dogs.

The intruder was a massive 11-foot-long alligator that weighed nearly 500 pounds.

Tim Nguyen said he caught an image of the gator on his cellphone and said encountering the large reptile made him feel nervous and he called 911 right away.

The Miami-Dade Police Department responded to Nguyen’s call along with veteran trapper Todd Hardwick of animal control company Pesky Critters.

“This is typical for this time of year, Hardwick said. “This is a male alligator a little over 11 feet that got out of the canal last night.”

Nguyen also took photos of the team as it placed the captured alligator into Hardwick’s pickup truck.

The caught gator is one of 2.3 million alligators living in Florida.

Hardwick said it’s the time of year when the gators are moving around.

“Their metabolism is increasing with the warmer weather and longer days of daylight,” he said. “More importantly this is breeding season, so these male gators are looking for female gators. They’re also fighting other male gators to get them out of their territory.”

Hardwick said anyone who sees an alligator should be careful and give it space.

“Alligators normally are afraid of people and they will stay away from us,” he said. “That changes when they get out of the water and they walk, because they know when they are out of the water they are out of their element, and they are more dangerous because they are vulnerable. They know they got a problem, they’re not in the water and can’t get away.”

Hardwick said people should be aware of their surroundings this time of year to avoid dangerous encounters with alligators, particularly in areas with bodies of water.

Florida state law prohibits people from harassing or killing alligators.