Apopka woman spooked after she finds 'big' alligator in her garage

Here in Florida, we often warn people that any open water could have a gator in it. Sometimes, the same is true for any open garage. Apopka homeowner Annie Smith went into her garage on Tuesday and found a young alligator inside. 

"The second time I came out this door and went over there, I closed the door behind me. And then I still didn't look," Smith said.

Smith said she got the shock of her life when she walked into her garage Tuesday afternoon. "Until I got the item off this shelf and wanted to put it on this shelf, and there he was. He was right here by the white tennis shoes."

Smith said the alligator was more than three feet long. "They say he was a baby! He wasn't no baby, to me! He was big, he about this long!"

She shouted for her husband and also dialed 911. Deputies, a fire crew, and Fish & Wildlife staff all responded. FWC caught and relocated the reptile. "When he opened the door, I said it's an alligator! When he opened the door, he could see the alligator right there. So he hurried up and closed the door back and eased it open again. He got the stepladder and put it right there between him and the alligator," Smith said.

Apopka's Lake Opal is behind Smith's house, and Smith admits she left her garage door open to let some heat out of the garage. Trapper and wildlife expert Frank Robb said recent rains may have prompted the gator to move to a different pond. "There's water in places there hasn't been in months because we're in this huge draught. We had the wettest winter in a long time, so they all had a place to be," he said, "then it dried up and now it rained again, so they're all, the spots they went away from, are now wet again, so they're going back to 'em."

Robb said a closed door would keep the gators out of your garage, and Smith said she'd do the same from now on.