HomeOutdoorsNewsAlligator found wandering stormwater pipe under Florida city

Alligator found wandering stormwater pipe under Florida city

by Caitlin Berard
Alligator similar to individual found in stormwater pipe
(Photo by Thomas Franta via Getty Images)

Florida isn’t quite the ultimate alligator paradise (that particular crocodilian crown belongs to Louisiana), but it’s up there. With a gator population of around 1.3 million, the rampant reptiles have made themselves at home in virtually every body of freshwater in the state…including the sewers?

The legend of sewer gators stretches back to 1930s New York, but city workers in Florida recently turned myth to reality when they discovered a 5-foot alligator wandering a stormwater pipe.

Luckily for the crewmen, they didn’t descend into the concrete labyrinth in person. Instead, they dispatched a remote-control robot equipped with a camera. Their mission was to find any defects or blockages in the pipe, and find one, they did. They just weren’t expecting it to have legs.

“At first, they thought it was a toad. And in the video, you see two little glowing eyes until you get closer—but when it turned around, they saw the long tail of the alligator and followed it through the pipes,” the Oviedo’s City Administration wrote in a Facebook post.

The stagnant liquid in stormwater pipes isn’t exactly what you might call “freshwater,” obviously, but this little guy didn’t seem to mind.

“Just another reason not to go wandering down into the Stormwater pipes,” the City Administration said in the post. “Thank goodness our crews have a robot.”

How did the alligator get into the Florida drainage system?

With the second largest alligator population in the country, Florida has gators in all 67 counties. In any lake, pond, river, marsh, swamp, or man-made canal you see in the Sunshine State, there’s bound to be at least one resident gator.

With that in mind, it’s not all that surprising that one found its way into the stormwater pipes. In fact, it’s not even all that uncommon, especially during mating season. And guess what’s in full swing right now? By August, the southeast will be full of baby gators.

More than likely, the alligator was wandering in search of a mate and ventured into the urban area in the process.

Encountering a stormwater pond, the gator would, of course, go for a nice dip to relax and cool off. From there, crawling into the drainage system through the opening in the pond is the next logical move.

This particular alligator was more than small enough to fit into the pipe comfortably, it even turned and walked further in when spooked by the roving robot. At just 5 feet in length, it’s actually on the small side. The average adult alligator is 13 feet if they’re male, while females are typically around 9 feet in length.

A 13-foot, 1,000-pound alligator likely wouldn’t have been able to maneuver inside the drainage pipe – at least not without causing some serious issues for the Florida city.