While Florida wildlife managers consider new regulations this month to make it easier for residents to kill a growing number of increasingly-troublesome alligators, an 81-year-old had to summon authorities yesterday when he discovered a 7-foot, 8-inch reptile hiding beneath his car.
On June 13, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will hear a series of staff proposals for updating the state’s alligator management plan, including liberalizing hunting seasons and allowing homeowners to kill nuisance gators 4-feet long or smaller. Previously, residents were required to contact the agency with all gator reports and professional trappers were dispatched to the scene.
But even if the new regulations had been in place already, that wouldn’t have helped Florida octogenarian Albert Gehrman yesterday.
Gehrman, who resides in a mobile home park, knew something was amiss when he got into his car.
“All of a sudden, there was this ‘thump, thump, bang, bang,’” he told the Palm Beach Post.
Gehman said he was startled to find a gator nearly as long as his car in his driveway—the only time he’s seen one near his home in the 12 years he’s lived there.
Wildlife officials say the current extended drought, combined with the mating season, has the critters on the move.
“We’re seeing them all over the place,” said Florida FWC’s Dani Moschella. “They’re just looking for water and each other.”
And what did the 80-something retiree think about his first gator encounter?
“I’m lucky it didn’t reach out and try to get my leg,” Gehrman said, adding, “It was no little baby. This was a big mother.”