Florida Deputies Capture Alligator Wandering In A School Playground, Safely Relocate It

Ironically, the mascot of Everglades Elementary School, where the reptile was found, is an orange-clad alligator

Isn't it cool to have a fearsome creature of the wild as a school's mascot? It most certainly is. However, one would not want to literally have the animal wander around inside the school. Ironically, a Florida school whose official mascot is an orange-clad alligator was paid a visit by a nearly five feet live form of the reptilian on Wednesday.

The Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office responded to a call from the Everglades Elementary School on Wednesday. There, the deputies found a 4-foot-6-inch (1.4-meter) alligator lurking in the school playground, and captured it.

A Deputy from Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office with "Everglades" Facebook/@okeechobeesheriff

In a witty post on its official social media handle, the sheriff's office wrote, "Although the mascot at Everglades Elementary School is an alligator, he can't be on the playground and that's exactly where Deputy Greis found him going..."

When a Stranger 'Crawls'

Alligators are known to thrive in the Everglades State Park in Florida. However, little would the namesake school have expected that the scaly creature would turn up at their doorstep. "I thought, 'That can't be real. Someone out a stuffed gator out here.' Until he opened his mouth," said Jennifer Fulwider, a first-grade teacher at the school, to CBS12 News.

A Deputy from Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office with "Everglades" Facebook/@okeechobeesheriff

Deputy Tim Higgins and Brandon Greis, who responded to the situation, spotted the four-legged visitor wandering in the play ground. Luckily for the school, Deputy Greis had some firsthand experience of dealing with the creatures as he said that he part took in gator hunts.

Nevertheless, an alligator roaming around in the school was a first for both the deputies. "Pretty much all I've ever dealt with were snakes, stuff like that. But this is the first time we've ever dealt with an alligator," said Higgins.

Capture, Christening and Release

Deputies from Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office with "Everglades" Facebook/@okeechobeesheriff

The crocodilian was captured by the deputies and was safely relocated to Nubbin Slough River in Okeechobee County. They also affectionately christened the animal "Everglades" before releasing it into the river, where it can be among its own.

Everglades Elementary School also seemed to look at the lighter and peculiar nature of the encounter. "We had a special visitor today at EES! Thanks so much to the Deputies who relocated our wandering guest!" the school wrote in a social media post.