ST. LOUIS — Alligators aren't native to Missouri, but one made himself at home in a Dutchtown neighborhood last week.
Mark Thomas said his neighbor was the first to spot it outside his house.
"As we're talking, she was walking on the sidewalk and she jumped back and was like ‘Oh, my God,’" he said.
So Mark did what any inquisitive homeowner would do.
"I had a broom handle, a broomstick, and I just sort of gave it a nudge and it spun around and hissed at me,” he said.
His wife took video and photos of the three-foot-long gator as it ran up the couple’s front steps.
"I think more than anything it was scared. It was just really, really scared,” neighbor Laura Absolon said.
She was scared, too, for the safety of her chihuahua, Poppy.
"What could have happened to him? He weighs 6 pounds,” she said.
They called Animal Control, which took the gator from the neighborhood.
Spokesman Harold Bailey said it was a strange call, but not as surprising as you might think. He guessed the alligator was a pet that got out or someone released. He said it is illegal for anyone to keep alligators as pets in St. Louis.
"I joked with my wife, you know, you need to clean up some of these bushes, you know, it's getting kind of crazy out here. We've got alligators living in the front yard,” Mark Thomas said.
Neighbors didn’t know what happened to the gator after Animal Control took it. Animal Control placed the gator with the Exotic Amphibian and Reptile Center. The owner told 5 On Your Side it gave the gator to an alligator rescue in Stanton, Missouri.
More local news:
RELATED: Dangerous heat expected Wednesday