Body camera shows cop capturing hissing gator from porch of Boynton Beach home

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) — A police officer in Boynton Beach managed to wrangle a hissing alligator from the front of a home, and the encounter was caught on his body camera.

Boynton Beach Police said Officer Alfredo Vargas responded to a call from a resident about an alligator laying by his front door, July 10.

Once he arrived, Officer Vargas called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and learned it would take about 30 minutes for a trapper to arrive. He was then told the trapper would most likely kill the gator.

Since he didn’t want the animal to be killed, FWC informed the officer that he could release the gator elsewhere. He previously learned how to handle alligators at the Native Village down in Hollywood and was mentored by two of the “Gator Boys.”

The gator was curled up on the front porch of a home in the Hunters Run subdivision.

Vargas said he learned how to properly handle alligators after visiting Hollywood’s Native Village. He also trained with Gator Boys Jimmy Riffle.

“Initially, I took a tour of the facility back in ’04, and I thought, ‘Wow, this is pretty cool. I want to learn how to do it,’ so I did. I volunteered at the facility, and they showed me how to actually properly hand-catch an alligator,” he said.

The alligator, baring its teeth, thrashed around on the floor as the officer tried to subdue it. Vargas made a clicking noise to get the gator to position itself so that he could subdue it with a makeshift catch pole.

“I was making a little clicking sound, making just, like, a little baby gator’s noise. It normally gets alligators to react because they’re very protective of their young,” said Vargas. “[A catch pole] is basically a rubber pole with a string or rope or something attached to it. If I didn’t have that I would have to just grab the jaws and pull him out that way.”

Using his handy gator wrestling skills, Officer Vargas eventually managed to catch the alligator and taped its mouth shut.

Boynton Beach Police said he then put the reptile in the back of his patrol car and released him six miles away in a canal off Congress Avenue.

“It’s not the safest thing to do, but if you do it properly you learn the alligators behavior. You make it as safe as possible,” Vargas said.

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