May is National Water Safety Month, and Florida's Charlotte County Sheriff's Office has its own tip to contribute. "Always check your pool before diving in!" it noted in a Tuesday Facebook post, along with photos showing why it was issuing such a warning. Authorities report that a family in the Deep Creek community woke recently to "loud noises on their lanai," and when they went outside to check what was going on, they found quite the surprise: a nearly 11-foot-long, 550-pound-plus alligator, taking a swim in their pool, per the Fort Myers News-Press.
The sheriff's office notes the gator "tore through the screen to get to the nice, cool water." Officers and an animal trapper managed to capture the giant reptile, using a noose to yank the alligator out of the pool, then tape to secure its mouth shut, reports CNN. Sgt. Brad Stender tells the news outlet that seeing alligators in residential areas in Florida isn't unusual, especially during the spring and summer mating season. Still, "this thing was just a monster. ... It was humongous," he marvels. Stender says the alligator was transported to the neighboring town of Muse, which is "more conducive" to the creatures. (Read more alligator stories.)