When Alan Abele was awakened at 3 a.m. Tuesday to the sounds of loud rattling and banging at his back patio door, he assumed that someone was attempting to break into his Dunnellon, Florida house. So, according to the Tampa Bay Times, he grabbed his flashlight and his .357 Magnum and went to check out the noise. But instead of finding a would-be burglar at his back door, he found a 6-foot alligator, which was ready to make the man his early morning breakfast.
Initially, Abele called out into the darkness, with the door remained closed, at what he thought was an intruder, declaring that he had called the police, was armed with a gun and not afraid to use it. But when the noise continued, which he described as sounding like “large crockery being thrown around and a door sound as if were being ripped off its hinges,” he then opened the patio door.
“Out of the dark this thing comes at you like some monstrosity,” Abele recalled. “Enraged alligator, white mouth wide open, literally launched itself at me.”
“I was crouched down and looking around when he hit me hard enough to knock me into a planter,” he said. “The next thing I knew he coming at me with his jaws open, so I pulled the trigger with the gun barrel about 3 inches from the side of his head.”
The single shot killed the alligator, but Abele fired once more “just to make sure.”
Abele said had he known beforehand that it was an alligator trying to get in the back door, he would have brought his shotgun instead.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission came to Abele’s home to investigate the incident and take the alligator away.
While alligators are a federally protected species and it is against the law to kill them, FWC officials stated that Abele’s actions were justified, considering the circumstances.
“It was a surprising situation to say the least,” said FWC spokesman Gary Morse. “Mr. Abele clearly had no other choice.”
Abele is an avid hunter and wildlife enthusiast and says that although he hated to have to shoot the animal, he was glad he had his gun with him, as it could have ended much worse.
“It was totally insane,” Abele said. “He wasn’t afraid of anything.”
Abele lives in Ohio during the summer months and has lived his winters in the Florida home for the past 20 years. However, he admits that in the last two decades he has never seen an alligator on his property until Tuesday.