Cape Coral neighborhood left uneasy after alligator found near kids

A six-foot-long alligator was found just feet away from kids playing in a Cape Coral neighborhood.

A neighbor living on Southwest 17th Avenue says it was his dog that alerted him of the scaly animal.

“He started going bonkers really loud, and I looked out the window and it (gator) was sitting there,” said Randy Strelow.

Strelow’s one-year-old dog, Buddy, was the first to spot the gator sitting outside of his front door.

Strelow knew he had to run outside and tell the neighborhood kids to get away from it.

“It was the main thing. I told them to stay away,” Strelow said. “It went through the ditch here and I got a couple pictures, and then it went to the culvert here. And then I called 911.”

Every time the kids, Cape Coral Police Department or the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission move toward the gator, he would scurry off.

“Well, the kids, the kids liked to get close,” Strelow said. “And it’s a smaller gator, so it’s a lot quicker than a bigger one.”

CCPD and FWC eventually captured the gator, leaving this neighborhood wondering where the gator came from.

“It had to come from the canal over there,” Strelow said.

Neighbors are grateful for Strelow jumping into action, and Buddy’s watchful eye.

“We have lots of lots of water everywhere,” said Cape Coral resident Kim Harper. “Just keeping an eye out and reporting, like that gentlemen (Strelow) did, is awesome.”

During this time of year, gators are especially active because it is mating season.

FWC warns, if you see a gator in your neighborhood, don’t feed it, otherwise it will get comfortable with humans. If a gator starts getting too close for comfort, call FWC.

MORE: Experts provide safety tips ahead of alligator mating season

Reporter:John-Carlos Estrada
Writer:Emily Ford