Alligators are not native to the Charlotte area of North Carolina, but that didn’t stop one from crawling up to a patio and making itself at home Sunday in the Weddington area.
The Union County Sheriff’s Office posted a photo on Facebook showing the very conspicuous jet-black gator trying to go unnoticed between a decorative masonry wall and wicker outdoor furniture.
The ploy did not work.
“Deputies responded to a report of a small alligator found this afternoon behind a residence in the Vintage Creek subdivision,” said the post. “At this point, deputies are unsure how the gator ended up in the area.”
Vintage Creek is an upscale neighborhood southeast of Interstate 485, with homes in the $600,000 to $750,000 range.
It was a juvenile gator: about 3 feet and weighing no more than 15 pounds, officers said in the post.
Deputies did not identify the homeowners who found the alligator.
TV station WSOC reported Dan Tedj said his 6-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter discovered the “hissing” gator when they went outside to play basketball. “Unfortunately, the kids were really excited. They didn’t want to go back inside, so we were a little nervous,” Tedj told the station.
Union County animal control officers “safely removed the gator” and took it to the county animal shelter, where N.C. Wildlife Resources officers are going to assume control of it, officials said.
This is the the second time since 2017 that an alligator has been found in Union County. In May 2017, one was run over in traffic on U.S. 74 a mile outside of Marshville, The Charlotte Observer reported at the time.
An alligator was also run over in traffic and died in neighboring York County, South Carolina, during the same month, the Observer reported.
Authorities suspect alligators found in the Charlotte region are pets that owners released into the wild or the reptiles escaped.