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Gator wakes up family in New Tampa

Hillsborough County

April is the beginning of alligator mating season, but a family in New Tampa found out Friday morning that one gator may have tried to get things started a few days early.

The gator showed up in the back yard of a home on Yellow Clover Drive in the early hours of the morning and woke the family up.

When they looked outside, they found the gator and called 911. Two Tampa police officers watched the reptile while FWC officials made their way to the home.

Once at the scene, they were able to wrangle the gator, but not without some attitude.

“During mating season, they have lots of energy,” said Robb Upthegrove, an alligator trapper with FWC.

“I call it, ‘They’re real hot.’ They’re pumped up, wanting to reproduce… so they don’t want you messing with them. They’re a little more of a challenge around this time.”

There are several reasons the gator could have been on the move, but it’s not surprising to see them do so at night, since they’re nocturnal animals.

“She could be relocating to another body of water, or searching for a male,” said Upthegrove. “So she’s in transition. 

Upthegrove and another official were able to corral the animal. They measured her at 7-feet long and determined she was in fact a female.

Recent weather could be to blame for why this gator was starting mating season a tad early.

“Weather has them confused,” said Upthegrove. “Some have started, some will start later. You’ll see a lot of stuff now because it’s starting to warm up. That triggers them to move into the mating season.”

This particular gator will be taken to a farm since Upthegrove was able to catch her without a trap.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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