By: Saraana Jamraj
A Parkland couple was in for a scaly surprise Tuesday morning when they found an almost nine-foot alligator swimming in their pool.
Earlier in the morning, the husband saw the gator in the street, but thought nothing of it, because it happens fairly often in his area. However, the wife was a little shocked to see it in their pool.
Paul Bedard, part of Gator Boys Alligator Rescue, responded to their call. He got word that the gator had walked through the patio screen and into the pool.
Bedard posted photos of the interactions on his Instagram account and explained why he enjoys responding to these calls and was especially excited for this one- his first good-sized gator rescue in a year.
“These are actually fun because the gator can’t go anywhere and the water’s almost always crystal clear,” said Bedard.
He shared how he catches the gators when they’re in those crystal clear swimming pools: by jumping in the pool and playing around until they’re tired. Then, Bedard can either hold the gator’s mouth shut and put a snare on and tape it, or, for rather energetic gators, he can try to tire them out enough to where we can pick them up without the tape, then carry them out into the yard and finish the process there.
In this case, he only had to do the former.
“This guy was super mellow, didn’t really give me a hard time at all. I couldn’t get him to spin on me, he really wanted nothing to do with me,” said Bedard.
Bedard was immediately able to catch him and put the snare on and tape it up. The gator was hesitant to expend any energy, but Bedard made sure to get some out of him before leaving the water. If gators leave too early, without being tired, he said they often go into a death roll or smash themselves up on the concrete, which could be dangerous for them.
“[He] didn’t really give me a hassle at all, it was basically as smooth and easy as it ever gets,” said Bedard.
The gator, now named Cool Hand Luke, was measured at eight feet and eight inches and was transported to Everglades Holiday Park.
“He was just so cool and mellow about in the water…just seemed like he wasn’t impressed with me at all- didn’t try to run away from me, didn’t really try to come after me. He was just so cool,” said Bedard, explaining the inspiration for Cool Hand Luke’s name.
The couple, he explained, were extremely grateful that the gator was removed, but even more so that it would not be killed.
According to Bedard, Luke will likely stay at Everglades Holiday Park for a little while, doing educational shows for the public in order to collect donations and keep the rescue afloat. After that, he will likely be transported to the Everglades Outpost Animal Sanctuary in Homestead.
Note: Bedard did not disclose the community name, and BSO could not provide it either since a call was not made to the house.
Saraana Selene Jamraj is a writer, activist, and a student pursuing her master's degree in mass communications at Florida International University.
She's currently the communications manager at The Salt Box in Parkland and has lived in Coral Springs since 2004.
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