Students and teachers at a Florida school got a scaly scare Monday morning when they encountered a six-foot-long alligator standing guard outside their elementary school.
“Gary the Gator” was spotted at the entrance to the cafeteria at St. Cloud’s Michigan Avenue Elementary School, police said.
An officer could be seen wrangling with the reptile in a photo the local police department shared on Facebook.
No one was injured and the reptile risk was averted when the alligator was captured and released into a nearby canal, according to WOFL-TV.
“Toughest part was making sure everyone was safe,” St. Cloud police officer Stephen Burrows told the outlet.
“I really wasn’t scared. I knew there was a job that needed to be done, so I just did it — captured the gator with a catchpole, taped his mouth shut.”
As Burrows captured the animal, Assistant Principal Erin Williams reportedly directed car and foot traffic as students and staff arrived for the day.
“Our students thought this was the greatest thing ever,” Williams reportedly said.
“They’re looking out the windows in their cars! They’re screaming at us!”
Gary was “released with strict instructions to never return to school property again!,” St. Cloud Police jokingly wrote about the incident online.
Alligator mating season is currently underway, meaning the dangerous animals will be more visible than normal through next month in the Sunshine State, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
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