BRADENTON, Fla. (CNN/WWSB) — A Bradenton couple says they caught an uninvited guest swimming in their pool before daylight.
After hearing a noise, the couple discovered an 8-foot alligator was the culprit.
Sharon Bente thought the noise she was hearing just after 4 a.m. Thursday was a thunderstorm blowing chairs around her screened-in porch.
“So when I came out to the patio to explore, I saw something that is not usually in the pool — along with the little floaty,” said Sharon. “And it turned out to be an 8-foot alligator.”
She was shocked to see the pool-crasher, but she only had one thought in mind.
“Can I get back to the door without it seeing me or realizing I’m bait?” said Sharon, who went right inside and woke up her husband John.
“[She] said, ‘We have a gator in our pool’ to me,” he said. “And of course, I didn’t know what she was talking about. I was still half-sleeping.”
The gator ended up in the couple’s pool after crashing through a section of screen.
“And he was just swimming around in circles,” said John. “I think he was a little intimidated with everybody watching, too.”
The Bente’s called the sheriff’s department, which notified a trapper to remove the 8-foot-3 ½-inch gator.
“It was quite an evening, quite an evening,” said John.
The couple hopes it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“I’m sure there are more alligators, and I’m sure I’m going to be sleeping with at least one eye open for a while,” said John.
“And it turns out, we just had a few screens that needed repairing,” said Sharon. “And it is a great story. It is a fun story, and hopefully, it just won’t happen again.”
Neighbors say alligators have been using this neighborhood for years as a cut-through between the Braden River and a neighborhood lake.
As for the fate of Bente’s gator, she has been transported to a gator farm in Arcadia.