Washington Man Kept Massive Alligator Next to His Bed Inside Shipping Container

by Craig Garrett
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Deputies and animal control officers in Pierce County, Washington were filmed last week removing a huge alligator from a shipping container. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department received a complaint about an unidentified resident in Lakebay, Washington who was keeping a gator as a pet. Although, at first, deputies and animal control officers couldn’t find the giant reptile when they looked into reports of it.

However, on October 20th, animal control found the alligator in a small tub inside a shipping container during a second investigation. Additionally, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office discovered that a sick calf and mattress were also inside the shipping container. The 32-year-old owner had been sleeping on the mattress with animals inside the cramped space.

The next day, animal control officers came back to the property with a warrant. Their goal was to take away the alligator and check up on the calf. According to deputies, it is illegal in Washington state to possess an alligator. “Al,” the alligator, was still in the shipping container, but the man and calf were long gone.

The animal control officers calmly got the alligator out of the small tub and held him down while a deputy assisted with taping the gator’s mouth shut. The video captured deputies and animal control officers transporting the alligator onto a mover and placing it into safekeeping at the animal control facility. Footage of the incident was shared on Pierce County Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook.

The alligator is now in a much better facility

The animal was taken to the Tacoma Humane Society, where representatives from a wildlife rehabilitation sanctuary took over. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said that when the alligator was found, it was healthy and will now be placed in a larger habitat rather than sitting in a storage container. “None of our deputies knew what they would be seeing that day, but you can bet they will have stories to tell for a lifetime about this encounter,” the sheriff’s department said in the Facebook post.

Experts warn people against taking alligators on as pets. There are several factors to consider. They’re rarely legal to own in the United States. Some states like Florida allow it with special permission, as does Illinois as an exotic pet. However, Alaska, Massachusetts, Utah, and Virginia will let you own one, no questions asked.

The other thing is their massive size. Although they’re small as hatchlings, they can grow up to 11 feet in length. Gators are also incredibly long-lived in captivity. There are reports of them living as long as 50 years. Another obvious fact is that reptiles can’t be domesticated. You’re essentially living with a dinosaur. They also need a special habitat that includes dry areas as well as water to bask in.