80-year-old Florida man wrangles massive alligator in his backyard

‘That thing tugged me all over,’ he said. ‘Carried me twisting and fighting all the way across the property.’

Officials removed alligator from FL backyard with help from 80-year-old resident

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FL (WSVN/CNN) - When an 80-year-old man in Florida spotted a more than 6-foot alligator on his property, he trapped it himself than called 911 to get it hauled away.

Crews had their work cut out for them Tuesday while removing a massive alligator from 80-year-old Ed Chapman’s Miami-area residence. But the successful reptile wrangling was mostly thanks to Chapman, who simply would not back down.

"I'll tell you one thing: I'm 80 years old, and that thing tugged me all over,” Chapman said. “Carried me twisting and fighting all the way across the property."

Ed Chapman, 80, says his encounter with the alligator is nothing strange. After all, he collects poisonous snakes for venom research and breeds wolves. (Source: WSVN/CNN)
Ed Chapman, 80, says his encounter with the alligator is nothing strange. After all, he collects poisonous snakes for venom research and breeds wolves. (Source: WSVN/CNN)

Chapman learned about the unwanted yard guest from his dog Rocko.

"I saw it because my dog ran out, and then, I saw her veer off. Then, she ran back, and I looked and there it was, walking. I said, ‘D---, that’s a big gator,” Chapman said.

Miami-Dade Police and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials say the alligator was between 6 and 7 feet long. It would have been more than 8 feet, if not for the fact that part of its tail had been cut off in the wild.

Chapman said he brought out a noose in an attempt to apprehend the alligator. The creature swatted him with its tail, knocking the 80-year-old on his side, but the man kept fighting.

"I went and got the noose pole, and I got it around its neck. And we argued together ‘til we got all the way over to this pond, and then, he got his front legs down in the reeds. Then, we went all the way down. He had a space in the water,” he said.

Officials say the alligator was between 6 and 7 feet long. It would have been more than 8 feet, if not for the fact that part of its tail had been cut off in the wild. (Source: WSVN/CNN)
Officials say the alligator was between 6 and 7 feet long. It would have been more than 8 feet, if not for the fact that part of its tail had been cut off in the wild. (Source: WSVN/CNN)

It was then that Chapman called 911.

“I said, ‘I just need some help. I got it contained, but I need some help. I can’t get it out by myself,'" he said.

Wildlife officials responded within 30 minutes of Chapman’s phone call. They surrounded the alligator and used duct tape to restrain it before putting it in the back of a marked pickup truck.

No was hurt during the encounter.

Chapman said this incident is nothing strange. After all, he collects poisonous snakes for venom research and also breeds wolves. But he denies he’s a “tough guy.”

"Nah, not tough. Just been around this stuff a long time,” he said.

According to wildlife experts, alligator sightings will likely increase in the near future, as mating season is approaching.

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