Last Updated: Friday, June 17, 2016, 11:06 AM
A Lakeland family got a huge surprise on Tuesday when they found a 9-foot long alligator in their backyard pool.
Craig Lear said he went to the patio to let the family's cats out when he noticed something strange in the pool.
"I saw a bubble in the pool and I thought a golf ball had come through the screen so I went up and I didn't see a golf ball. I looked in the deep end and there was a big gator," he said.
Lear rushed inside to tell his wife, Laura, who was taking care of their 6-month-old son.
"The gator came in from the pond in the backyard," she said. "It's mating season so he was looking for something."
The Lears called a trapper who removed the alligator from the pool.
"He used a lasso effect, wrapped him up and it was pretty scary. At one point, waves were rocking in the pool from the gator thrashing around but then the trapper tired him out and hauled him out the door," said Laura Lear.
Through it all, they said the baby was blissfully unaware of what was happening.
"Oh yes, I don't think he realizes the magnitude of what he just experienced," said Laura Lear.
The Lears said the alligator made a hole in their patio screen to get in, so that will have to be replaced. But other than that, it didn't do any damage.