COCOA BEACH, Fla. - A Cocoa Beach man got quite the fright when he walked out into his backyard recently as he faced down an alligator.
He wondered how the six-foot gator got there, that is until he happened to go out again and catch the momma’s entry on video.
The video starts with the gator approaching Bill Geiger Jr.'s backyard fence, hissing. Then, she lunges straight for the bars, squeezing and floundering until her front half is through, then her back. Geiger Jr. said the gator looked like a missile.
"It was incredible," he said. "It caught me by surprise, I was shocked!"
The gator isn’t new to the neighborhood. Geiger Jr. estimates she’s been there for a few years.
"As a matter of fact, it popped its head up in the sewer drain while the city employees were working," he recounted, laughing. "They got a big surprise."
This alligator warning sign is posted right outside of Bill Geiger Jr.'s property
Geiger Jr. said he doesn’t shy away from danger - apparently, including alligators.
"I wasn’t really afraid of it; I was just wary of it," he explained.
The Gator expert at Gatorland, Brandon Fisher, said alligator mothers can be very protective of their young.
"Your best thing to do is leave it alone and keep your distance," said Fisher.
He also added, "Please do not mess with momma alligator, don’t feed any alligators, don’t try to do anything with alligators in the state of Florida. For one, it’s against the law, and secondly, they have the potential to be very, very dangerous."
Geiger said he would love to leave the alligator to her own devices, but he has a one-year-old granddaughter who hasn’t been able to swim in his pool because of the gator, and his son hasn’t been able to bring over his dogs.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) said each gator nest has an average of 32 to 46 eggs, and Geiger isn’t willing to meet the whole family of babies once they hatch.
"I called FWC to find out what to do. They told me, ‘You’ve got to contact the city, you’ve got to do this, there’s a lot of red tape.’ Eventually, probably in a couple of days, they’re going to come out – I hope – remove the eggs, relocate the gator," said Geiger.
Gator breaks through fence in Cocoa Beach. Source: Bill Geiger Jr.