OCALA — Residents in the Crystal Lake neighborhood woke up on Friday morning to a new neighbor in their driveway.
A nine and a half foot alligator made it’s way into a homeowner’s driveway culvert in the residential subdivision of Southeast Ocala.
The homeowners reported the alligator to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.
The alligator was safely removed by wildlife officials.
Wildlife Commission guidelines for nuisance animals say that most alligators under four feet are not a direct threat unless handled, but individuals should report any alligator they deem to be posing a threat to persons, pets or property.
Officials stated that all Florida residents should be aware that alligators can be anywhere, particularly near brackish or fresh water areas.
Take caution when swimming by only using designated swimming areas, and avoid swimming in heavily alligator populated waters. Pets should also be kept away from alligators.
Alligators should be left to be handled by officials as state law prohibits killing, harassing or possessing them.
Nuisance alligators can be reported to the Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR. Wildlife Commission advised that nuisance alligators are killed not relocated due to the potential for harm.