GULFPORT, Miss. — A 5-foot alligator that took up residence in a backyard swimming pool is on its way to a new home after Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks officials plucked it from the water.
The Sun Herald reported (http://bit.ly/1pPb26Y) resident Pam Jones opened her back door Monday morning to let out her Boxer dog, Maggie, when she spotted the alligator in the pool.
The animal was swimming around, then climbed out to sun itself at poolside.
Jones got the dog inside, shut the door and called the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
"Our pool motor went out and we've been waiting for the new one to come in," Jones said. "The pool is green because of the motor being out. But it did get all of the frogs living in there."
Wildlife officials told Jones alligators frequently show up in neighborhoods after heavy rain. Adding to their wanderlust: it's mating season.
Jones said she was worried about harm coming to her dog or her grandchildren, who often play in the pool.
Master Sgt. Barry Delcambre tried to prod the alligator, which retreated to the bottom of the pool in a waiting game with wildlife officials.
Delcambre and Pvt. Ryan Deschamp pumped the murky water out of the pool to gain an edge in capturing the alligator. After five hours, they got it.
Delcambre and Deschamp had been scraping along the bottom of the pool with hooks, trying to stir the animal when it surfaced in a deep-end corner, giving Delcambre a chance to make the catch.
"This is the hardest gator in a pool I've ever had to catch," Delcambre said.
"I'm just glad it's gone," Jones said as she looked at the alligator resting in the back of the wildlife officials' truck, "He's kind of cute though, isn't he?"
Delcambre said his office typically gets more calls about alligators after a heavy rain, but more alligators are showing up on the beach this year than in the past decade. The area has been drenched with heavy rain in recent days.
Authorities said the alligator will be moved to an undisclosed location.