ST. GEORGE ISLAND, Fla. (WFLA) – A couple vacationing from Maryland saw an unusual sight while at a beach in the Florida panhandle.

Brian Donohue and his wife Suzanne were on St. George Island on April 20 just before 10 a.m. when they spotted a large alligator on the beach.

Donohue told WFLA the gator was roughly eight or nine feet long and added he “had never seen an animal so big in the wild… it was bigger than me!”

According to Donohue, the water was rough that morning, so the gator ended up back in the water and swam away before anyone from FWC arrived.

“It was scary and unexpected and amazing,” Donohue said.

Donohue tells WFLA he can’t wait to come back to Florida next year calling the experience “exhilarating.”

According to NOAA, alligators can tolerate saltwater for a few hours or even days, but are primarily freshwater animals, living in swampy areas, rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds.