A stormwater crew in the city of Oveida, Florida was investigating a series of potholes on the morning of May 5 when they found an alligator in a subterranean sewage pipe. The crews confronted the reptile with a four-wheel drive robotic maintenance camera, and the resulting footage is sending shockwaves across the internet. See it for yourself below.
“At first, they thought it was a toad and in the video, you see two little glowing eyes until you get closer,” reads a post on the the city’s administrative Facebook page. “But when it turned around, they saw the long tail of the alligator and followed it through the pipes!”
In the video, the gator remains fairly relaxed until the robot is just a few feet from its face. Then the unseen city worker behind the remote controls gives the bot some gas—ramming the reptile’s snout. The gator bears its teeth, reverses course, and saunters off into the sewer. The entire ordeal lasts less than two minutes.
City officials said that the robot continued to pursue the gator for a distance of some 340 feet before it got lodged in an indentation in the pipe and the animal crawled away. “Just another reason not to go wandering down into the Stormwater pipes,” they added, near the end of the Facebook post. “Thank goodness our crews have a robot.”
It’s not the first time a sewer-dwelling alligator has caused a stir in the Sunshine State. In 2021, a Florida cop made headlines after snapping a selfie with a gator as it emerged from a storm drain. That same year, a Jacksonville two-year-old spotted a giant alligator in a sewer while eating at a restaurant with his dad. In 2020, a Cape Coral man was mowing his lawn when he discovered a 9-foot, 10-inch gator in the sewer drain in front of his home.
There are 6.7 million acres of suitable gator habitat in Florida, according the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and the reptiles inhabit every one of the state’s 67 counties. They prefer fresh or brackish water, but they’re occasionally found in saltwater environments. Each May and June, the FWC holds a statewide alligator hunt that routinely draws over 15,000 applicants.