April 26 (UPI) -- A man in Mississippi was startled to find a large alligator was lurking near his newly trimmed backyard flower bed.
Dr. Chip Holbrook called the Simpson County Undersheriff to his property after he was raking clippings from the flower bed and discovered the nearly 9-foot gator hiding inches away from where his son had been trimming the hedges.
Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation Officers Jake Guess, Chad Shows and Marvin Miller wrestled and relocated the gator, which had emerged from a nearby lake, likely in search of a female during the peak mating period.
"With that comes large male alligators that are seeking breeding females. They will travel quite long distances in search of those females," Ricky Flynt of the Wildlife and Fisheries department told WJTV.
Flynt said Holbrook did the right thing to contact authorities to remove the alligator and encouraged others to treat the creatures with similar respect.
"These alligators are not what Hollywood has really portrayed as being man-eaters. We do wish people would treat them with deep respect," he said. "Most times if you'll just keep your distance, keep quiet, they will move on and go to a safe place. We never recommend anybody ever put their hands on an alligator. It's actually illegal for you to do so."