BAYPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — One Long Island family is making a splash with this story.
The Barons of Bayport were all prepared to cool off with a dip in their pool on Saturday, but before they could they had to contend with a small swimming intruder, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Monday.
See Photos: Gator In Pool
The parents and their five grown children got the scare of their lives in the form of a baby alligator.
“One of the skimmer covers was off and I saw a branch in there. And I was, ‘Oh, let me get the branch out.’ And I look and I’m like, that’s a weird branch. I look down and I see legs attached to it and I look, and I’m like, ‘No way.’ You know that rush that comes over your body? I turn to Sydney and I’m like, ‘Sydney, there’s an alligator in the pool,'” homeowner Joseph Baron said.
“Alligators, as far as I know, they are not native to Long Island, so I don’t know if someone brought it up from Florida or who is raising alligators in their house? But it’s a little scary,” daughter Sydney Baron added.
The Barons said they have no idea how or why the tiny gator landed in their yard. Perhaps it was trying to beat the heat?
“Once we started to go for it it took off into the pool. You know those little underwater toys, those little torpedo things? That’s what it was like. It just shot from one side to the other. It was quick. So we’re running around trying to get it with the skimmer net, and he was just dodging everything,” Joseph Baron said.
According to New York state environmental conservation law, owning alligators as pets is illegal, except for in cases of research, exhibition, or educational purposes. And then, it is only permissible with a Department of Environmental Conservation license.
“Yeah, it’s illegal,” daughter Chloe Baron said, adding with a laugh when asked how the gator got into the pool, “Maybe from an egg and they let it loose or something? I have no idea.”
The family eventually corralled the reptile, and put it in a fish tank for safe keeping.
The Barons then called the SPCA. Environmental and conservation police arrived and now have the tiny gator in hand, and expect to release it to a preserve down South. Experts say the little gator could grow in excess of 12 feet long, but would never survive New York winters.