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Video: Alligator wrangled at Air Force base

Charlie, the Joint Base Charleston - Weapons Station twelve foot one inch 600-pound alligator, June 24, 2013. (US Air Force/Released)
April 25, 2024

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) workers were called to a U.S. Air Force base on Tuesday to wrangle an alligator that was discovered under an airplane on the military runway.

According to The New York Post, the nearly 10-foot-long alligator was found basking on the tarmac at MacDill Air Force Base in Hillsborough County, Florida, on Tuesday. Despite the delays caused by the reptile, the airmen took the change in schedule with a sense of humor, posting a “caption this” contest on the base’s Facebook page along with a video of the removal.

In the video, two agents from the FWC can be seen roping the alligator as it struggles and lunges against their attempts to capture and relocate it. However, the FWC agents eventually succeeded, and the alligator was transported to a nearby river without incident.

The reptile, nicknamed Allie “Tiny” Gator by the airmen, earned an honorable appointment as “Airman” in the base’s “Chomp of the Week.”

“Alli Gator, the vigilant guardian of the flight line, demonstrated remarkable bravery and prowess defending our KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft from potential threats,” MacDill Air Force Base wrote in a Facebook post. “With lightning-fast reflexes and a keen sense of danger, Alli thwarted trespassers and other wildlife alike, ensuring the safety and security of the aircraft. Alli’s unwavering diligence and dedication to duty earned them the admiration and respect of fellow defenders.”

READ MORE: Video/Pic: Alligator takes down huge python in Florida

Alligators inhabit every county in Florida and are frequently encountered during the spring and summer months as male alligators search for mates, according to the FWC’s website. While these encounters are rarely dangerous, FWC cautions people from approaching the reptiles.

Nuisance gators throughout the state can be reported to the FWC for removal. The Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP) was established with the dual goal of protecting people and conserving alligators. The FWC employs trained personnel to answer calls for alligator removal and relocation.

While the FWC makes every effort to relocate the reptiles unharmed, alligators that return to populated areas or are very large are subject to harvest. The FWC states that harvest is necessary due to the territorial nature of alligators, as an alligator removed to a populated area would likely be attacked and killed by older gators.

Alligators can also quickly lose their innate fear of humans through exposure. A relocated gator that has become accustomed to people can quickly become a nuisance in a new area, according to the FWC.