Tourists and locals received an unexpected surprise last week when they stumbled upon a massive alligator swimming along the shore of the Alabama coast.
Matt Harvill and his girlfriend spotted the large reptile inches from Dauphin Island, Harvill said.
The two had been warned about the alligator’s presence, but wanted to take a closer look for themselves (See the video at the top of this article).
“Went up, I think, 200 yards from where we originally were and sure enough, you just see a glob every now and then poke its head out,” Harvill, a 27-year-old Mobile, Alabama, resident told Fox News Digital. “And then, he got washed up on shore.”
Harvill was able to capture video of the swimming gator and shared it on Facebook on Sunday. The images and footage have received nearly 3,000 shares.
Harvill was shocked to see the reptile along the Gulf of Mexico, he said.
“Tell me where you can go to the beach and the f—ing zoo at the same time,” Harvill can be heard saying in the background of a video he shared to Facebook.
Harvill told Fox News Digital that the alligator “never charged or hissed” each time it reached the sand.
Harvill said the alligator may have wandered off from a bird sanctuary before finding its way into ocean waters. (Matt Harvill)
“It just seemed like he was scoping [things out] and enjoying the different scenery from what he or she is used to,” Harvill added.
Harvill said he thinks the gator may have come from a nearby bird sanctuary that’s located on Dauphin Island.
“He could have easily just trailed through the woods for a little ways and ended up getting onto the beach,” he said.
Alligators are the largest reptiles in North America, weighing up to 1,000 pounds and reaching lengths surpassing 15 feet, National Geographic reported.
Alligators are most commonly found in freshwater or swamps and marshes from North Carolina to the Rio Grande, according to the Smithsonian National Zoo.
“They can only tolerate salt water for brief periods because they do not have salt glands,” the conservation institute shared.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources advises people to never feed or approach an alligator.
“If you encounter an alligator that you believe poses a threat to people, pets, or property, contact your local Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries office,” the agency wrote on its website, outdooralabama.com.