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Craig Lear went out to remove a golf ball from the pool at his Lakeland, Florida, residence but discovered a 9-foot alligator instead.

The 38-year-old stay at home dad noticed bubbles in the pool and assumed it was because someone from the nearby golf course hit a ball into it.

At first Craig couldn’t tell what was in his pool because the pebble-patterned floor camouflaged the alligator, but when he moved closer the 300-pound beast became clear.

“I hear stories about gators, but never at my house,” Craig’s wife, Laura Lear, told ABC.


After making sure his son and three cats were accounted for Craig called Florida Fish and Wildlife who referred him to Scott Barbon, alligator trapper.

Barbon lassoed the alligator and began a tug of war with it. Despite having 13 years of alligator trapping under his belt, Barbon claimed “Oh, that’s a big one,” of the 9-foot long water creature.

“We didn’t know what the gator would do,” Laura admitted, calling the situation “nerve-wracking.”

It took Barbon and hour to drag the gator out, telling ABC “they’re pretty tough animals.” He also did it entirely barefoot, as he prefers to do his job without shoes.

“I don’t wear shoes because my feet get wet and my shoes get wet,” he said. “So, I stopped wearing them.”

The alligator was ultimately euthanized, with its hide and meat processed.

The couple, who moved from Chicago five years ago, are just happy to have it out of their pool.

“This is what I see on the TV,” Laura said, “not in my pool.”

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